Published April 30, 2021 in Blog
You are running late. At the Al Ghubaiba metro station, you get off the train and walk to the bus station. There you see a passenger information sign telling you that the bus is on time. You run to the platform as you hear the bus pull in. Short of breath, you stand in line and then you realise you are on the wrong platform. It is too late to get across to the right platform, and you miss the bus. The information at the station entrance might have been correct, but it did not meet your needs.
This is a case of poor information. You may think that poor information may be better than no information. But in some instances, it is worse than no information, as it results in bad customer decisions, bad outcomes, and a poor passenger experience.
Fortunately, public transport passenger information technology is trying to address this issue.
Passenger information devices show different information based on what you need to know at each point in the journey. When approaching a stop, you need to know which platform or bay to go to, based on that route. You don’t need information on every service at every stop. At the stop, you need to know the services that use that stop, their stopping pattern/destination, and when they are arriving. On board, you need to know when you will arrive at the stops along the route, and what connecting services or other transport options are available at those stops.
Information needs also change based on the mode of transport, with multimodal information being particularly valuable between trips e.g., when getting off the bus and seeking the tram service information. Even better, is showing this multimodal information onboard, so passengers can potentially decide to stay on the bus rather than waiting for the tram.
Furthermore, even at the same point in the journey, passengers’ needs are not all the same. Blind people require audio messages, and if they are not provided automatically, then they require a way to activate them. If you are in a wheelchair, you need to be able to see the information clearly, so viewing angles are important. You may also require reassurance that the vehicle has been requested to stop and that the driver is aware there is a wheelchair passenger wanting to alight.
So far, we have discussed the need for information. Just as important as the message, is the way that this message, is delivered.
This is highly dependent on the technology selected. At Trapeze, we recognise there is no one right solution, and that an effective passenger information system will consist of different technologies selected for their particular function, as well as a range of physical, financial, and political considerations.
Factors that should be considered when selecting passenger information technology include:
Having an independent system for the signs at stops and stations, while considering the customer’s existing ITCS system is important as it protects existing investments and provides a path forward.
At Trapeze, we propose a comprehensive solution that offers seamless integration, control, and flexibility, ensuring a reliable passenger information system. Here’s how we address the requirements:
1. Passenger Management Software in the Cloud
To serve as the central hub for managing and delivering passenger information, we recommend installing our advanced passenger management software in the cloud, specifically in the UAE. This cloud-based solution ensures efficient data processing, accessibility, and scalability.
2a. GTFS as a Primary Data Source
Our system leverages the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) as the primary data source. GTFS provides standardized data formats for public transportation schedules and routes, ensuring accurate and reliable information for the signs.
2b. Optional Integration with ITCS using SIRI-SX
For organizations with an existing ITCS system, we offer the option to integrate our system with the ITCS using the Service Interface for Real-time Information (SIRI-SX). This integration facilitates the exchange of real-time information from the ITCS system to our passenger management software, enabling the synchronized delivery of messages to the signs.
3. Support for Various Sign Types
To cater to different signage requirements, our system supports a variety of sign types, including Flexpaper, LED, and TFT displays. By utilizing our passenger management software, the relevant content can be accurately and dynamically delivered to each specific sign type.
4. Web-Based Client Interface (WebCli) for Management and Control
Efficient and user-friendly management and control are crucial for maintaining accurate and up-to-date information on the signs. Our system provides a powerful web-based client interface, allowing authorized personnel to remotely monitor, manage, and update the content displayed on the signs. This ensures flexibility and responsiveness in delivering the right messages to passengers.
Having the right information in the right place can really help passengers make use of the public transport network. This information will differ as the passenger moves through their journey. Whilst there are a range of technologies to help deliver general service and disruption information to passengers, the selection of these technologies requires the consideration of many factors.
Good passenger information comes from good quality vehicle tracking, advanced prediction algorithms and a powerful sign management system that can tie these information sources together – delivering the right message to all passengers. When you run for the train, you get to the right platform on time, and when you’re onboard knowing that your stop is 10 minutes away and your connecting service will be waiting, you are relaxed and in control and your overall public transport travel experience is enhanced.
For you, the passenger information system’s job is done. For others, the journey is only just beginning.
This blog is Part 2 of a series on passenger information. See also:
Bus, Rail, Trams/Light Rail
Intelligent Transport Systems
Industry Solutions Manager, ITS