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The Potential Impact of Intelligent Personal Assistants on Public Transport: Critical Analysis

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Intelligent Personal Assistants – Intelligent Personal Assistance (IPA) is an application of Artificial Intelligence. By the term Artificial Intelligence we mean the technology used to serve software with the help making of intelligent behavior (What is Intelligent Virtual Assistant?, 2018). Intelligent Personal Assistants are the types of voice-enabled technologies used in mobile phones such as Siri in Apple iPhone and Cortana in Microsoft etc. The IPA’s are basically designed to perform the specific tasks of users by using the online sources available over the internet (Canbek & Mutlu, 2016, p. 602). In the words of Matney(2015), the main five giant robust tech titans are Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook that have their own IPA’s like Siri, Now, Alexa, Cortana and M respectively that help users to get the results according to the input provided by them.

In the simple words, IPA’s are the software that are designed to help people in doing some simple and basic tasks, in which user give input in natural language i.e. English and the answer is provided by IPA’s using online resources about the questions relating to weather, directions for driving and sports etc (Krupansky,2017). While some of the IPA’s help in business services such as Calendar and reminder, others do essential services like health monitoring. These IPA’s are made available on mobile phones as software applications.

Main features of IPA are:

  1. Voice control and voice queries (Krupansky,2017).
  2. Find information about Weather, News and Traffic etc (Krupansky,2017).
  3. Dial and receive phone calls (Krupansky,2017).
  4. Send and receive messages (Krupansky,2017).
  5. Setting alarms, timers and reminders (Krupansky,2017).

IPA’s are able to work on Smartphones, Smart televisions, Smart speakers, Computers and Laptops and in all smart appliances (Vangie, 2018).

Public Transport – Public Transport is a transport system, opposing to private transport for the use of group passengers (What is Public Transport?,ND). It is usually for the interest of general public and cheaper than the private transport. Public Transport is typically managed by a scheduled time, for going to specific routes and there is a fee for each trip. There are many types of public transport such as, bus, train, light rail, ferries, Coach, Air lines and many more.

People choose the type that is most convenient to them in regards of speed, comfort, cost, safety and most importantly time. Most of the public transport goes on fixed routes at prearranged timetables. These time tables are usually fixed but in some situations they might be changed. Differences can be found internationally in the use of public transport system according to the geographical, historical and economic reasons. All types of public transport run on infrastructure such as roads, rails or airways. Timetables are provided in each public transport system for the public to arrange their trips. These timetables can be found on internet. Also, there are many mobile applications that give information of the updated timetables of each transport system.

Impact of Intelligent Personal Assistants on Public Transport – Intelligent Personal Assistance technology can impact Public Transport Industry in many ways, some of them are written below;

1. Voice assistance for inquiries and objections:

Currently, people all over the world use voice assistance on smartphones such as Siri in Apple iPhone and Cortana in Microsoft. Likewise, if IPA can manage voice assistance then it could become possible to accept queries, complaints or objections from the general public in all means of public transport like Trains, Buses or Ferries via voice assistance (Harris et al., 2012). For example, if someone loses their valuable things in any type of public transport then it can be possible for them to make a complaint about it through their smartphones using Voice Assistance rather than first calling customer care and then lodging their complaint. Life of people would definitely become easier if this change happens.

2. Notifications to public about routes:

Second best implementation of IPA would be notifications from the IPA to the users who use the applications regarding public transport. Let us assume that if a person travels to a specific place A to B frequently, then an automatic notification from IPA can be sent to the user telling all the possible routes and best ways of public transport, so that person can select the route that is best suitable to him in regards of time, speed and cost (Dia, 2002). This change is very beneficial for the people who travel regularly.

3. Updating information to drivers about traffic:

Another best execution of IPA could be to notify or updating traffic details to all public transport drivers so that they can check and select the best route accordingly to avoid delays in traffic (Basir & Miners, 2014). This change would help drivers in public transport to make their life easy by saving a lot of time.

4. Updates to drivers about instructions or directions of dynamic route:

IPA could be used to give instructions on specific dynamic routes to drivers of public transport before arriving at bus stop or train station so that they can choose the route that meets the demand of maximum passengers (Shimoura & Tenmoku, 1994). This change can be described as best with the help of example of a lift system in any organization’s building, where an option is available for people to choose from as floor number where they have to go. They can select the floor number and when number of people going to a specific floor is more than people going to the other floors, then as a priority that lift would come first where there are more people waiting.

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Factors or constraints that make the impact Updates to drivers about instructions or directions of dynamic route might prevent it occurring:

  1. Providing drivers with the instructions for dynamic route update is very hard to implement in real life because there is a need to fix a new device in all the public transport. Also, it needs to be installed appropriately (Pechatnikov, Kupferman, Yadan, Eckstein, Fagin, & Nissim,2006). Cost of this device could be high it might not be affordable for the government to install it in every public transport. According to Lawrence Lessig’s regulations, this factor can come under ‘Market’ Category.
  2. It is very difficult to calculate the demand of passengers, because for this drivers have to check the total number of passengers waiting at each and every stop. To check the total numbers of passengers waiting there is a need of such a device that can make the drivers know where they should go first. For this, there should be such a device at each public transport stop where passengers can enter their destination (Schmier & Freda2002). This might cost high and for this reason it could not be possible for the government to install such device. This factor comes under ‘Market’ Category of Lawrence Lessig’s Law and Regulations.
  3. Dynamic route change can badly effect on lives of people. Because if the number of passengers waiting at a stop is less, then the driver will go to the routes where there will be high number of passengers, which in turn will make the other passengers wait for too long time (Tsiao, Chao & Tong 2007). This constraint comes under ‘Norm’ category of Lawrence Lessig’s regulations because this factor is ethical in nature as some people will be waiting for too long time to travel to their destination, hence this can be considered as ethical in nature.
  4. Drivers will also be affected by dynamic route change as they might need to go to the long distance stops rather than going on optimal drives. So, just for the passengers drivers need to travel a lot which will result in loss of their energy and sometimes they will get stressed thinking about the long distance they have to go. Hence, to implement this change would be ethical in nature.

Process Model Diagram is described below for the impact of Voice Assistance in public transport industry. Let’s assume if a person lost his mobile or any other property in any type of public transport of Punjab, the process flow will be as described below:


  • Start – Raise a complaint
  • End – Collection of lost property


  • Visit website of Punjab transport

Fill form for lost property

  • Receive request form
  • Register complaint
  • Found the lost property
  • Collect at lost property office
  • Notification for not found property


  • Person
  • Public Transport OfficeDecision Points:
  • Property found or not


  • Item received by person

Swimlane diagram for the above process:

Explanation of the above diagram of Process Model – Let us assume if any person lost his property or any belongings in the public transport in Punjab then he is needed to follow a process to let the transport office know about his lost property and to get it back. On the very first step he needs to visit the Punjab Public Transport Website and fill a form of lost property available on the website which will require description of his lot property and his personal details as well. When this form is received by the transportation office, a complaint will be registered. Then there will be two possibilities of this situation, one is property found and other is property not found. If the property is found a notification asking the person property found and please collect it from the Lost Property Office and, if it is not found then notification telling property not found will be sent to the person. There are many drawbacks of this process if person is lodging his complaint manually which are as follow:

  1. A person needs to log into the website which is quite difficult in situations if there is no internet.
  2. Person is required to fill the lengthy form.
  3. Person needs to wait till the complaint is registered as it is time consuming process and cannot happen immediately.

To overcome all these drawbacks, the process mentioned above can be automated or made easy for the person just by using the voice assistance over smartphones to make a complain. So after using Voice Assistance in the Public Transport system Swimlane Diagram will be like this:[image: ]

To conclude, it can be said that technology is impacting each and every industry at all the time. In this report, we have seen how Intelligent Personal Assistance can impact Public Transport. Also, the factors or constraints that make the impact that might prevent it occurring are described. Concisely, we can say that impact of technology is increasing every single day in every single industry.


  1. Basir, O. A., & Miners, W. B. (2014). U.S. Patent No. 8,856,009. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. Canbek, N. G., & Mutlu, M. E. (2016). On the track of artificial intelligence: Learning with intelligent personal assistants. Journal of Human Sciences, 13(1), 592-601.
  3. Dia, H. (2002). An agent-based approach to modeling driver route choice behavior under the influence of real-time information. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 10(5-6), 331-349.
  4. Harris, R., Briscoe, D. L., Ott, J. D., Zeigler, J., & Schmidt, M. (2012). U.S. Patent No. 8,208,609. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  5. Krupansky, J. (2017). What Is an Intelligent Digital Assistant? Retrieved December 12, 2019, from
  6. Pechatnikov, M., Kupferman, M. M., Yadan, O., Eckstein, I., Fagin, A., & Nissim, O. (2006). U.S. Patent No. 7,089,110. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  7. Schmier, K. J., & Freda, P. (2002). U.S. Patent No. 6,374,176. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  8. Shimoura, H., & Tenmoku, K. (1994, August). Development of elemental algorithms for future dynamic route guidance system. In Proceedings of VNIS’94-1994 Vehicle Navigation and Information Systems Conference (pp. 321-326). IEEE.
  9. Tsiao, J. C. S., Chao, D. Y., & Tong, P. P. (2007). U.S. Patent No. 7,216,080. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. page 4 queries
  10. Vangie, B. (2018). What is Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA)? Retrieved December 12, 2019, from
  11. What is Intelligent Virtual Assistant? (2018). Intelligent Virtual Assistant. Retrieved December 12, 2019, from
  12. What is Public Transport?(ND). Public Transport. Retrieved December 12, 2019, from

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The Potential Impact of Intelligent Personal Assistants on Public Transport: Critical Analysis. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
“The Potential Impact of Intelligent Personal Assistants on Public Transport: Critical Analysis.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
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