|Serving Busy East
of Numerous Technologies
Symposium Chosen to Deliver Key Components of Ambitious Intelligent Transit System
Symposium Technologies was chosen by Maxtel Communications as project partner to provide the software and integration expertise required to deploy an advanced schedule adherence system for the City of St. John’s Transit Fleet.
Like many Transit Commissions these days, St. John’s was faced with the challenge of improving service while controlling costs and obtaining the active buy-in of staff. The solution was to commission a system that would enable staff to more accurately and easily adhere to schedules, and enable bus riders to quickly determine where the bus was in relation to their stop – an important consideration in the city’s variable climate.
After a competitive bidding process, Symposium partner Maxtel Communications was awarded the tender, and sub-contracted Symposium to provide the software solution, with Maxtel providing network connectivity and GPS hardware.
“An Invaluable Contribution”
“Our company has been involved in integrating hardware and software systems for quite some time” says Tom LeTourneau, president of Maxtel. “As a result, we’ve had extensive experience with any number of software providers. I can say without reservation that Symposium provides some of the most technically advanced systems, and some of the most capable implementation staff. They’ve provided an invaluable contribution to the project, and have been very important in helping ensure that the client has remained fully-satisfied.”
Real-Time Info, Real-Time Updating
With the new schedule adherence system, GPS receivers are used to plot the progress of busses in real-time, and this time-stamped positional information is compared to where the bus is supposed to be at any given moment in terms of its defined schedule.
This information is analyzed by the schedule adherence system, and broken down in terms of time ahead or behind schedule (in minutes/seconds). This information is then made directly available to the driver via an onboard mobile data terminal, which enables them to make adjustments to their speed so as to better match the schedule.
As part of this project, Symposium was called upon to integrate the Horizon EME with any number of crucial third party technologies, including the city’s wireless radio network and GPS hardware, as well as the city’s EX™ route-building software, provided by Trapeze Software Group.
Using this system, Metrobus is able ensure the best possible route service by using real-time GPS and sophisticated software to keep riders, drivers and dispatchers aware of each bus’ status and anticipated arrival times.
How It Works
The system compares the real-time position of the bus’ GPS signal with where it’s supposed to be in relation to each route’s schedule, and notifies dispatchers of any notable deviations. A simultaneous alert is sent to the drivers and displayed on a small data terminal mounted in each bus that indicates how many minutes ahead or behind the bus is, thereby enabling drivers to speed up or slow down as required.
The system makes this information available to the ridership in two ways. The Metrobus Website features the TimeTrack interface, which displays up-to-date information on each bus’ status via a link located on the main page. For riders not hooked up to the web, the system interfaces directly with the RideGuide IVR system that provides an automated telephony message which is constantly updated to deliver the status of each bus.
The new system also provides administrators at Metrobus with full control of all data and configuration updating, enabling them to add, delete and modify busses, runs, routes and stops as required, directly from within the system. In addition, the system enables administrators to compile reports on historical bus and route information, resulting in better resolution of client complaints, and the ability to perform more in-depth service analysis and improvement.
The new system – which qualified for an ITS grant from Transport Canada – can serve as a good case study as to how to successfully implement Intelligent Transportation Systems in other municipalities.
For more information, or for those interested in seeing the system in action, please contact Symposium by emailing us at email@example.com.