A Cloud-Based Mobile Application for Cashless Payments to Enhance Transportation Mobility in India

Introduction

Mobile phones and tablets are an essential part of communication in day-to-day life (Epps 2005). There has been an increase in the number of mobile subscriptions across India (Trimi and Sheng 2008). A mobile phone is now an important part of life and has many features other than receiving and making calls (Ghosh et al. 2014). The ease of mobile use has made life more comfortable. The Economic Times, in February 2015, rated India as the second largest smartphone market globally and expected the growth of smartphones to be over 650 million in the next 4 years, as predicted in a study by Cisco, a networking solutions giant (Economic Times 2015). Technologies such as cloud computing help to reduce the cost of building infrastructure (Zhang et al. 2010). Cloud computing has spread across nations and boundaries (Rochwerger et al. 2009). Facilities in the cloud can be hired on a pay per use basis (Ghosh et al. 2012). Cloud storage helps to improve remote access to data using an Internet connection.

This chapter proposes a mobile application (app) to improve transportation mobility in smart cities in India. A smart city is one in which the urban system structures are made clear and responsive using technology and design (Kenworthy 2006). Safe and efficient sustainable mobility is the pillar of a smart city. Smartphones help in accessing the Internet. The use of Internet-based mobile phone apps provides scope for improving urban planning and detecting and overcoming inefficiencies in the present urban systems (Steenbruggen et al. 2015). Data collected from these mobile phone apps can be used to enable geographic or social science planning in cities. There are smart city e-services mobile apps that provide services for changing and developing the local economy and tourism and improving transportation mobility, health care, education, and security services (Escher Group 2016).

Over the past few years, many smart city projects have come up with solutions to the challenges that cities are facing (Veeckman and Graaf 2014). Various challenges such as traffic issues in busy cities and environmental pollution demand better and more efficient methods to manage urban life. Therefore, governments are investing in information and communication technology to provide the necessary information. Horizon 2020, a European Union funding program, is promoting the development of smart cities throughout Europe (Veeckman and Graaf 2015). The US government has invested over $160 million in federal research and has collaborated with 25 new technology corporations to reduce traffic congestion issues and crime rates and manage climate change (House and Secretary 2015). Microsoft is building the Smart Destination, a mobile app that retrieves, transforms, and filters data from social media feeds to guide tourists to city attractions in real time. The Belgian city Ghent in western Europe uses a Google-owned navigation app through which users can report accidents and traffic jams. The data collected via this app help the local government with traffic management and emergency response dispatch (Bradshaw 2016). Uber, an urban transport app, connects cabs through a mobile app platform. One click on the app and a cab will pick you up from your current location. Blind Square, popularly used in Europe, helps blind people to know their surroundings by collecting information from Foursquare. The app helps users to get around town more easily. Smart parking, a mobile app used in Barcelona, uses a network of sensors to display parking availability information throughout the city (China Academy of Information and Communications Technology 2016).

According to Make in India, the Government of India allocated 1.2 billion USD to the smart cities budget for 2014-2015. India has signed partnerships with Germany, Spain, the United States, and Singapore for developing smart cities. The Clean India mobile app encourages safer and cleaner surroundings for citizens. Users take photos via this mobile app to report streets that need cleaning. Indian Railways has introduced a mobile app and short message service (SMS) that enable passengers to register complaints about unclean compartments and request an emergency response dispatch if needed.

This chapter proposes a cloud-based mobile payment model for a developing country such as India. The model can be used to pay transportation fares on the go and avoids the need to carry loose coins to pay the exact fare. This model is compatible with all smartphones and is easy to use.

The chapter is structured as follows: The first section discusses the existing models of cashless payments during travel and the growth of the Internet-enabled mobile wireless subscriber base in India. The second section discusses the proposed cloud-based model that can be used for the payment of fares. The third section discusses the key benefits of the model. The fourth section discusses the limitations of the model. The last section proposes the conclusion and future scope of the model.

 
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