|Applying information system methodologies to the design of public transport studies in Hong Kong
Transportation -- China -- Hong Kong -- Planning
Hong Kong Polytechnic -- Dissertations
|Department of Computing
|vi, 80 leaves
|Public transport studies are essential to the development of comprehensive and efficient public transport systems for metropolitan cities like Hong Kong with large population and complicated road infrastructures. Owing to the lack of adequate road space for private vehicles, the reliance on public transport for efficient movement of people living in large cities has become inevitable. Public transport studies help to forecast future public transport needs and recommend the most effective and efficient ways to cope with the demand thereby making the best use of limited resources. In Hong Kong, public transport studies conventionally involve five stages namely, inception period, data collection and analysis, model development, option evaluation, and reporting. The study itself is assumed to be a well-structured process (refer to p.30 for definition) and can be regarded as a 'hard' system. Before the start of the study, however, there is a lot of preparatory works which involve many human interactions. As a result, the study forms only a sub-system of a much larger human activity system (HAS) which exists in an ill-structured environment (refer to p.30 for definition). Quite often, unanticipated problems occur at various stages of the process which result in delay of the studies. Consequently, it has become a norm that public transport studies will always perform behind schedule. Slippage of three to six months is not uncommon depending on the complexity of the problems arisen, not to mention that the outcomes of the work might not always meet the original requirements of the study. The purpose of this study is to explore the possibility of using approaches to information systems planning and development in order to improve the design of public transport studies with an aim to rectifying the problem. By applying the concept of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) to the general problem solving stage of the HAS, it is suggested that the ill-structured' part of the system should first be converted to a 'semi-structured' or structured environment. When the problem domain is well defined, some of the concepts and techniques of structured systems analysis and design methodologies e.g. SSADM can be applied to redesign the current approach of public transport studies. Feasibility tests using the CTS-2 model (refer to p.57 for details) as a prototyping tool are recommended prior to the commencement of the main study. This gives insight on the possible outcomes of the proposals and facilitates the waking of options for testing in the full model. In contrast to the current approach where most of the problems occur at the end of the study thus causing delays, the recommended new approach aims at resolving the problems, most of which are political or human in nature, before the start of the study. As a result, the study can adhere more closely to the planned schedule and budget. Furthermore, the quality of the study results will be improved due to reduced amount of disputes and interruptions during the course of the main study.
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