THE NEED TO KNOW
COMMUTER INFORMATION VIA SUNDRY APPS AND SMARTPHONE TECHNOLOGY MIGHT BE SECOND NATURE TO MILLENNIALS AND AGE-DEFYING GEN-XERS THESE DAYS, BUT NOTHING BEATS A QUICK GLANCE AT A SCREEN OR CLEAR, CONCISE AUDIO MESSAGE ABOUT YOUR PUBLIC TRANSPORT JOURNEY.
The journey is one thing. Knowing everything about it is another – and these days everyone can’t get enough passenger information while travelling. We check out some key players. Fabian Cotter reports.
It may well be a ‘sign of the times’ that bus, rail, ferry and whatever else mode of travel connected to any city’s public transport system relies on accurate arrival and departure information - and customers often get such from their phones.
Or at least the downloaded travel apps on them.
Yet those apps need to get that information from a source … and that source – in modern times – cannot just dictate where transport modes should or could be along routes. Real-time data shared rapidly between the vehicle or transport mode to the ‘base point’, which in turn compares it against timetable requirements and shares the outcome back and or to a source that disseminates it to apps for people to plan their travel against, is where we are now at. It’s the currency we’ve all bought into. That’s just the way it is.
Arguably, for as simple as it sounds to just get your phone out and touch screens and scroll to a point that tells you where your bus is or what it’s doing, that’s ideal when you are no-where near earshot of the transport system, or a node like a bus stop.
Once you are, it is the convenient clarity (readability and ‘aurality’ – font colour, style and size of text; pitch, tone, cadence of audio etc) and accuracy of it that puts special importance on the quality of any good passenger information system.
From its front-end interaction with the commuter to its back-end communication via internet and satellite trilateration (as opposed to triangulation), so that everyone knows pretty much exactly where buses and coaches are at any point of time, the passenger information system is key.
You want to encourage and ‘psychologically welcome’ travellers with a great system and make them feel ‘relaxed, safe, connected – and in control’ of their journey. And in this way it helps prioritise catching public transport over personal car use.
Things like air-conditioning control, illuminated and automated destination signs, and high-definition CCTV camera systems are usually all part of the packages offered by top companies specialising in such systems. As well as bus web-based monitoring, route data management, vehicle travel statistics, and vehicle tracking and telemetry.