Published February 07, 2024 in Blog
Does it feel like you are living in the dark ages when it comes to buying an Automatic Vehicle Location and Control (AVLC) system?
Living before the industrial age, it was possible to be born, live, and die without ever going more than 50km from your home. All your needs were met in your village. You only wanted what the village could supply. Life was simple. The same cannot be said for buying an AVLC system.
Being a villager content with your world, limits your horizon and will not allow you to fully visualise what you need to get the results your customers are after. Like Dick Whittington, you must go to London, you must see the world with your own eyes or look through the eyes of those who have been there.
A sophisticated set of AVLC requirements are designed to let you monitor the transport services, deliver real time information to passengers, and improve the level of service delivery. These will meet your current objectives and your customer’s immediate needs.
Historically, AVLC features would push the product envelope with many needing to be developed as part of the project delivery – increasing project cost and risk. Modern AVLC functionality is mature and proven at scale. Vendors have specific strengths, with top vendors likely to meet your AVLC requirements “out of the box”.
Systems like the Trapeze AVLC have over 50 years of development behind them. They are used by some of the smartest cities in the world and these long-term relationships mean that we know that often what is left unsaid in a specification is important. How well a function works or the number of ways that an operator can customise the system provide additional value that is difficult to specify.
But with the focus on AVLC features, have you missed the bigger picture? Specifications are a necessary minimal set of requirements delivering a tool that lets you make your own path. Often you don’t know where your path will take you.
When the explorer Ferdinand Magellan left his Portuguese village and set out to reach the spice islands, he specified all he needed for a long sailing journey. Five ships, 270 men, provisions for two years. During the journey, he discovered the Strait of Magellan, named the Pacific Ocean, and became the first person to circumnavigate the world – all of which he is famous for, and none of which were in the specifications.
To be able to capture the benefits that are not specified, you need to know enough about ITS to spot the opportunities.
Looking at what some of the world’s leading public transport networks do will help you to know what to ask for and gives you a chance to see some of the different options the future may hold. Your knowledge will be a crystal ball that is an ideas generator. One that lowers costs, improves the quality of service, and delivers better outcomes. Best practice has AVLC as part of an ITS ecosystem that links and drives the public transport experience. This ecosystem includes ticketing systems, CCTV, communication, EV management, passenger counting, real time passenger information, planning, scheduling, reporting and many others. Each component of the ecosystem does its own thing, and you select the best of breed in each class. But the systems do not work in isolation. Connectivity is the hallmark of today’s solutions. The use of ITxPT, SIRI and NeTEx for data exchange are becoming routine and are now expected to be present in any serious system.
Like Dick Whittington, going to London to see how they are managing public transport with ITS is a great idea, particularly as in the 21st century London is internationally recognised as the leader in Public Transport Technology. But this is not always physically possible. However, a travel guide in the form of the ITS evaluation guide can help you develop an understanding of the scope of ITS and how this is used in Public Transport. The guide will help you quickly navigate the various technologies and can be read top to bottom, but is best dipped into at points of specific interest. Want to know what an AVLC system does – look here What about a journey planning tool, or the dispatch software. In each topic you not only get a description of what it is, but also the benefits each technology can bring, and a guide to use when evaluating such software.
What of the future? One big area of change you might see in your travels is in franchising. Not only are there sophisticated solutions for sharing and negotiating timetables over franchise regions and routes, but advanced claims processing systems mean operators can largely automate their claims for payments and authorities can accept or reject these claims. They build on the advanced AVLC solutions and by standardising these processes London, Singapore and Riyadh all deliver quality services at scale.
Magellan rounded the world, boldly sailing into the unknown and delivering extraordinary results. You do not have to risk it all to have a great outcome with your AVLC purchase. Build your knowledge and write your specifications using the evaluation guide as a prompt, but keep an eye on the bigger picture, as AVLC and allied solutions help to manage the network, the contracts, the flow of information to the passengers, and the payments to the operators.
Want to know more? Contact us to find out more about how Trapeze Group technology can help improve public transport operations.
Trapeze ITS has been awarded a major Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) contract with the National Transport Authority (NTA) in Ireland.
Bus, Trams/Light Rail
Intelligent Transport Systems
Industry Solutions Manager, ITS