VTT prepares the ground for standardisation work
New information systems for buses
Economical and punctual bus services can now be organised more easily because firms producing information systems for buses have access to a systems development platform. VTT has co-ordinated the European development work in this field. The information systems based on the platform show the exact arrival times of buses at the stop, and allow the operator to flexibly change the wide range of public transport services provided by an individual bus to fixed-line or demand-responsive mode. Moreover, society makes savings by combining the transports of the special user groups it supports through a travel dispatch centre.
Operators that procure information systems conforming to platform are able to operate their vehicles efficiently. The development platform enables firms creating equipment and content services related to public transport to speed up the conceptualisation, testing and marketing of new systems. And above all, the passenger benefits from the high standard of alternative public transport services.
A reference architecture for the development platform of the new, open and modular bus information system was created in an EU-funded project. It specifies a wide range of services and the high-speed data transfer protocols by which the data required in different service situations can be flexibly transmitted both on board the bus and between the vehicle and the transport operator's background system.
- The development platform helps in many ways. The development of public transport modes is speeded up, the operator receives real-time information on its buses, and location-based information services make it easier to use both fixed-line and demand-responsive transport. An additional benefit is that the driver can concentrate on the driving task because the user interfaces of different bus information systems can be linked to a new and smart bus computer, says Insta Visual Solutions' Technology Manager Ilkka Kaisto. The company has produced vehicle computers that conform to the new specifications. VTT carried out the environmental tests on these new computers.
A bus equipped with a vehicle module conforming to the development platform's specifications can be flexibly changed from one use to another: from fixed-line to demand-responsive variable route or even door-to-door services. Using its real-time positioning technology and background system, the system can request traffic light priority for the bus when it is behind schedule or, for example, in an emergency situation it can transmit the exact location of the bus to the rescue services.
Since the completion of the project, the new vehicle computers developed by Insta have been tested in both fixed-line and demand-responsive transport services in Florence, Kuopio and Tampere. The development platform supports existing data transfer between the bus and the background system via GSM and local radio network communications. The development platform also supports the future EN 13149-6 standard, which specifies the data transfer between transport operator equipment (ticketing machine, vehicle computer, route display, etc.). VTT is involved in this standardisation work. EN 13149-6 is based on the CANopen protocol.
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