Introduction to Broadband and Convergence

The Benefits of Broadband and Convergence

Benefits of Broadband and Convergence for Transport

Public transport systems need to increase patronage and trim costs to help cities reduce road congestion and manage the transportation requirements of growing urban populations. A UCC solution can help with both patronage and costs.

Backed by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and the Information Technology for Public Transport (ITxPT) association, Europe is driving a revolutionary initiative to develop a modular plug & play IT architecture for public transport based on open standards. This would replace existing proprietary systems that are hardware-based, expensive to maintain, upgrade, or remove, and do not scale.

Trials of this new architecture are currently underway in the UK at Transport for London (TfL). If successful, it will become the new standard for European public transport. A key ingredient is a multi-bearer communications gateway installed in each bus. The UK trials are using a UCC platform inside every bus to test its ability to provide bearer services within the IP-connected bus and between the bus and the control center. This vehicle area network helps to supports various specific benefits, including:

  • Interoperability between bus location systems and multiple back-offices (e.g. belonging to different bus operators),
  • Bluetooth automatic passenger counting,
  • Smart ticketing systems that can handle a variety of ticket types and media,
  • Access to custom on-board IT applications,
  • Reliable and more up-to-the minute timetables and real-time passenger information (RTPI) and electronic signage,
  • Integrated transport (including buses, trams, and trains) for trips across different connections and even different operators,
  • Better safety and security for drivers, street teams & passenger through resilient voice communications, video surveillance and on-board cameras,
  • Predictive maintenance enabled by vehicle telematics and tele-diagnostics.

Open standard interfaces, IP protocols, and the capabilities of converged wireless communications over multiple devices provide the essential connectivity that holds this innovative architecture together to deliver these improved services across a whole continent.

And more generally, it promises to create a public transport system that is more efficient, more flexible, cheaper to run, greener, and gives passengers a better experience.