Mobile Virtual Communities of Commuters

Mobile Virtual Communities of Commuters

Jalal Kawash (American University of Sharjah, UAE), Christo El Morr (York University, Canada), Hamza Taha (American University of Sharjah, UAE) and Wissam Charaf (American University of Sharjah, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-054-7.ch142
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Abstract

Commuting forms an integral part of our lives, whether we are commuting for leisure or business. The use of location-based services and mobile computing has potentials to improve commuting experience and awareness. For instance, printed bus schedules have been only recently complemented with online systems to provide bus timing information for the community of public transport commuters. Commuters can nowadays inquire about bus timings by the use of telephony systems and the Internet. However, the information provided to users is statically produced, just like the still in-use old fashion bus route tables, and does not take into consideration delays and cancellations. The next step in the evolution of these schedules must produce live information, track bus movements, and alert commuters of bus arrivals and timings. The experience of commuting using taxis can also be improved beyond the use of telephony, while the most common way of asking for a taxi continues to be by hand waiving. Such improvements are more crucial for commuters that are not completely aware of their surrounding environment, such as tourists and business visitors. This article envisions the formation of networked organizations of commuters, through the use of mobile and location-based services. We discuss scenarios and use cases of such organizations and propose an example software implementation for the supporting services.

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