Now you can know exactly where your bus is and when it will arrive. FARA, the leading provider of electronic ticketing and travel information for public transport, has developed a system that enables both passengers and operators to benefit from accurate, real-time information on the whereabouts of a bus.
Oulu, in Finland, is one of the first cities to implement this sophisticated information system. Here passengers can track their public transport live, and see its movements on screens at 41 stops. With FARA’s technology and maintenance, 140 busses send accurate location updates every second to the display screens at bus stops, and to public transport authorities, traffic controllers and traffic contractors. This information creates a seamless travel experience for the passengers, and enables the operator to monitor, control and improve the service. FARA has already delivered the solution and is contracted to maintain the system until 2021.
“People want to know where their bus is right now and when it will arrive. Our newest technology lets passengers see a bus’s location on a map and follow its progress, not only on bus stop displays but also on their smartphones. Our displays include real-time information about delays, as well as expected arrival and departure times, and can be used for infotainment and advertisement,” says Ørjan Kirkefjord, CEO at FARA. “We give passengers the information they need wherever they are, and that helps them have a seamless journey with public transportation.”
The drivers use on-board tablets with 7” screens to select their next journey. As they drive, the tablet displays a map showing the journey’s progress, as well as information about staying on schedule. The tablet gets its location from GPS and Glonass satellites and sends this to the central system using the 3G network. Messages about service interruption can also be sent straight from the vehicle to the bus stops. FARA installed 140 of these vehicle devices in Oulu.
FARA’s system also handles traffic light priority at all traffic lights in the region for buses that are late. This can help to keep the service on schedule and raise the value of public transportation for travelers.
Open Source Solution
FARA’s technology and web-based services provide real-time data about the stops and lines. It is available through an open and standard interface. In Oulu this open source is now integrated into a single traffic information service for all transportation modes, called www.Oulunliikenne.fi. This web site uses the travelers’ location to provide route guides, and gives up-to-date information about traffic conditions, delays and connections to flights and trains.
“The project was delivered on budget and with minor schedule overruns,” says Jukka Talvi, traffic engineer of Oulu city, who planned the purchase and was the project manager. The EUR 1.2 million contract has been divided evenly between the state and the municipalities. “Real-time information accuracy is the future of travel and we are pleased to have it at work already,” says Jukka Talvi.