Provide intelligent transport system services in vehicles in order to increase the efficiency and attractiveness of Public Transport relative to the car.
Intelligent Transport Systems can offer a range of integrated features that benefit passengers, thereby making the public transport offering more attractive. Current examples that benefit passengers are:
Acoustic announcement systems and displays showing the next stop. Electronic passenger information on the vehicle can provide information about the next stop and the following stops. The provision of this information in buses is especially important for the elderly, disabled, tourists, and new public transport passengers, which makes an integrated acoustic and visual announcement highly desirable. People with visual disabilities often have problems with scrolling text, and therefore the 'stand still' phase must not be very short. Such announcement systems require an automatic vehicle location system (e.g. supported by GPS like in Helsingborg, Sweden).
TV-screen with infotainment. A TV-screen placed in the vehicle provides additional public transport information combined with city information (e.g. local events) and entertainment (e.g. short movies). This service is often financed by advertising. However, a mixture of public transport information and other services (e.g. by splitting the screen into two areas) should be avoided A TV screen enables the provision of additional information compared to dot-matrix screens. Sophisticated systems can display the vehicle schedule, transfer / other bus information or delays within the system via dynamic message signs in the vehicle. The system requires techniques to predict the vehicle arrival time at the station / stop, and to receive data on other vehicles along the route, and requires the ability to display this information to public transport customers riding on the vehicle.
Many mobile electronic devices (e.g. mobile telephones) allow internet access via Wi-Fi Radio systems. A Wi-Fi service in buses may attract new passengers for public transport and provide additional benefits for the users (e.g. a check of an electronic journey planner via the internet).
Destination displays on the sides of vehicles. Many urban bus systems use vehicles with destination displays on all four sides of the vehicle - even on the side without doors. It facilitates the identification of the correct bus during interchanges. Particularly in small cities using the ‘rendezvous’ technique (where all lines meet at the same time at the central bus stop to allow transfers between all lines) it is advisable that the destination of the bus (and not only the bus number) is displayed on all sides. This lowers the risk for passengers of joining the wrong vehicle where there are cross-city lines.
In addition, many service features can also provide major operational benefits
Closed-circuit video and driver help features (see guideline 2.14 On-board safety and security measures)
Electronic on-board passenger counting systems, with radio transmission of information to vehicle control centres (see guideline 4.3 Operation control systems)
Smartcard readers, with a radio link to card payment ‘top-up’ systems
Electronic fuel and engine monitoring systems
Technological development is growing fast, but some of the features above are not yet available at a price that would make them economical for small and medium-size cities’ public transport systems. However, because unit costs are falling, cities ought to be aware of them so that they are ready to take advantage of them at the appropriate time. In particular, cities should specify vehicle purchases where on-board electronics are fully integrated into the design so that additional features can easily be added as technology develops.
Electronic information devices cannot replace printed information material in all cases. For example, dynamic information panels on board vehicles do not serve to replace a static network map placed in the vehicle which provides network-wide information to transferring passengers. In addition, it is important that electronic devices operate accurately, as incorrectly displayed bus stop information can be highly confusing to passengers.
Public transport authorities and public transport operators can learn a lot from airlines, which have worked with service facilities in aeroplanes for a long time.
Coimbra (Portugal): All buses are equipped with infotainment possibilities. Coimbra was the first city in Portugal to implement acoustic information tools in buses to provide information to passengers.
Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain): In 2003 the city started to develop and implement a new project called "Intelligent Public Transport System" which includes the “Exploitation and Management System" (SAE). The set-up of an SAE system on board the buses includes the installation of informative screens on the street (40 screens are working already at stops) and the integration of the SAE system with the on-board information system.
Euskirchen (Germany): All buses are equipped with destination displays including the destination of the vehicles (not only the bus number); even on the side without doors and at the rear.