ITxPT is connecting bus fleets for the future

Delegates at the recent ITS Australia Global Summit in Melbourne heard Trapeze Group’s David Panter showcase the ways ITxPT is connecting bus fleets for the future.

As ITxPT’s key ANZ representative, David is the regional authority on ITxPT specifications and how they support our local bus industry.

This blog shares highlights from his presentation, so anyone who wasn’t at the summit can see how operators and authorities benefit from this technical work, and how these developments flow into EV fleet standards.

Driving value for operators and authorities

Public transport operators and authorities demand the maximum value for money from their technological spend.

This includes picking the best suppliers and updating onboard systems to the latest solutions, with confidence that data from vehicles can be accessed quickly and easily, and that services are not duplicated.

The current lack of standard interfaces between different technologies and software providers is challenging for operators and authorities. The ITxPT specifications solve this by enabling interoperability between public transport IT systems.

Software providers are keen to develop new solutions that solve clients’ problems. Introducing standard interfaces help them and lowers the barriers to entry for new businesses, encouraging competition and innovation within the market.

Consider a technology provider offering a new bus passenger counting solution. Traditionally, the provider must install their own on-board GPS antenna and processor, a 4G comms link, wiring to talk to the sensors, and a display to communicate with the driver. This significantly increases costs and makes installation difficult as more roof space, cockpit space, and wiring are all required.

Using ITxPT specifications, the provider can use a vehicle’s existing AVLC, ticketing system, or smart router to provide the vehicle location and deliver Automatic Passenger Counting data to the back-office systems. They can also access the shared Multi Application Driver Terminal to provide information to the driver.

The result is lower installation costs, lower hardware costs, and less total infrastructure within the vehicle. These are all highly desirable outcomes for the customer.

Real world operational needs

The passenger counting example shows that ITxPT specifications are addressing real world operational needs, and that includes new EV fleets.

Managing the efficiency and safety of EVs is an ongoing priority for operators, as the risk of failing to provide a fully reliable service is still relatively high. Products like Trapeze’s LIO Volta address this by comparing the current state of charge with the planned work for the vehicles and the known depot and opportunity charging points.

The dawn of the EV era has created an opportunity to normalise open standards in new vehicles, with ITxPT leading the way.

This is not about reinventing the wheel. ITxPT specifications already exist to obtain FMS and vehicle data, and there are well defined interfaces such as OCPP between charging management systems and the chargers.

However, real time information about stations’ charging capacity and their charging performance is not widely established and the total operational cost for charging stations is not easily estimated.

The evolving ITxPT specification on EV infrastructure is looking to make that information readily available. By facilitating daily operations with electric vehicles, ITxPT helps provide seamless and comfortable mobility.

Standardising logon services

Logon services are under scrutiny because several onboard systems currently require a validated driver logon, including the ticketing machine, CCTV, and AVMS. The lack of compatibility is a problem because drivers must sign on to multiple platforms in different ways.

To overcome this, ITxPT are working on defining the logon service with a standardized API for all public transport modes and systems. This will reduce integration costs and add value to other systems that use logons.

The ITxPT team has a draft release covering the agreed functional requirements for driver, operational, and back-office logons.

Your data is the primary asset

The progression towards a data centric, broker-based architecture that positions data as the primary and permanent asset is among the biggest current developments in ITxPT.

The existing service-based architecture will be retained but, in the future, there will be an MQTT broker which all data sources will publish to. This allows applications to request the data they require without needing to know which service is providing it.

With smaller blocks of information being transferred it scales well, and system robustness and stability can improve over time.

The MQTT broker was selected as a generic data transport mechanism because it is lightweight, fast, and readily implementable. Several bus systems already make use of MQTT brokers, so this approach is also low risk.

The inventory service is already data centric and work on the logon service is well underway. The ITxPT organisation also recently conducted a proof of concept for the APC-2 specification.

The conversation continues

The benefits of shared data and devices are clear. But most importantly, using ITxPT specifications now will ensure that our fleets are ready for the future.

With the uptake of EVs gathering pace, this is the perfect time to leverage these specifications as EVs provide a green field environment from which to move forward.

Do you want to make use of ITxPT to shape your strategy and achieve future connectivity? David Panter is your regional representative so connect with him on LinkedIn or contact Trapeze Group to start the conversation.


ITxPT Association General Assembly – Recap

David Panter, our ITS expert, provides valuable insight into what is happening in the ITxPT world from ITxPT General Assembly.

Learn more

Mode of Transport

Bus, Trams/Light Rail, Ferry


Intelligent Transport Systems

Meet the author

David Panter

Industry Solutions Manager, ITS

Connect on LinkedIn

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