IoT Blog

Connected Public Transport chanllenges bad weather

Smart public transport challenges bad weather

Snow and wind often brings chaos in the city.

Winter is nice on a sunny day but can be a problem in bad weather and disrupt travelling and Public Transport. Our smooth city life is dependent on good weather.

Can IoT and Smart Public Transport be helpful on a stormy day? How is connected technology used to improve for passengers and help drivers and traffic management?

Connected technology - a helping hand

Smart Public Transport works in all conditions as long as all systems have power and mobile coverage.

Technology has no problem with difficult weather conditions if power is still available. Zeros and ones aren’t blocked by snow or wind. In fact, Internet, IoT and connected things all challenge the weather’s limitations. It allows us to stay at home on a stormy day and do our meetings from home, e.g Skype. If we must leave home, we easily check our smart phones to find the smartest way to go to work with Public Transport, possibly by bus.

As a traveller you can get instant information on the traffic situation for your trip. Connected technology shows you real-time information at the bus stop or in your smart phone. It tells you if the bus is late and for how long. You can wait in the warmth of your home or at the nearest coffee shop until the bus arrives.

Thanks to WiFi onboard you can stay up to date with social media during the ride, check emails or send a message to tell you will be late. Infotainment monitors can show news updates or local traffic information.

Behind the scene

Online technology helps in many ways to deliver a better ride.

The driver can be assisted from the start with a warm bus in the morning. By connecting the climate management system, the temperature in the vehicle can be monitored. The heat can be turned on just in time before the bus goes in operation. This means no excessive heating, which saves cost and the environment.

When logging in to the vehicle's system, the driver is automatically identified. All administration, such as route logging, is taken care of. During the trip the driver is confident that the information in the vehicle's systems is up to date, such as the ticketing machines, route and stop announcements etc. In emergency situations, real-time audio and live video from the bus is possible. The driver feels safe and know that the traffic management will help them through all eventualities. Therefore, he or she can always welcome passengers to a warm bus with a friendly smile.

Internal messaging systems and Voice over IP helps the traffic management to communicate with the drivers. They can easily inform each bus or the whole fleet about known accidents, traffic jams or other issues that might cause delays. Instantly, they can provide advice on alternative routes. On the other way around, drivers can quickly send messages in case of problems with the bus or in the environment and get help if needed.

GPS positioning gives the traffic management an instant overview of each vehicles position. They also know how many people that are on board in real-time through information from the passenger counting system. Predictive maintenance monitoring of the vehicle can triggers alerts if there is an engine malfunction or other critical issues. This means that if the bus gets crowded, very delayed or stuck in traffic, the traffic management instantly know and can deploy another vehicle when possible.

Rise to the challenge

There is a lot of IoT in Smart Public Transport that creates value during the ride. Not all features mentioned are yet used in every public transport bus or coach but eventually they will be introduced.

Smart Public Transport cannot stop delays in traffic, but it can present real-time information from all resources and monitor the interference. Information that can be forwarded to the public. It also helps traffic management with information and measures to minimize disturbances.

Fältcom together with Telia are devoted to these things every day. We make existing systems smarter, more sustainable and we create new connected services to increase the value of Smart Public Transport.

Smart Public Transport – in the future

We cannot control the weather, but we will develop more and more intelligent systems to help us adapt to the outside world. Cities will become smarter as urbanization continues and all systems start working together. We have written about this before in The smart cities of the future and Public Transport’s weird journey into the future.

IoT in Public Transport is a great help today, but we are just in the beginning of the connected journey. We will soon have autonomous buses in scheduled traffic on the streets. We will be able to forecast the weather more precisely and use AI to predict the consequences. Then the city can prepare for the occasion and adjust Public Transport and information accordingly.

We look forward to when all travel systems are connected through open protocols. Then we could have an intelligent voice-controlled travel planner app that always advice the best way to the destination from our present location. Taking in account the weather and our preferences. We just reserve and pay our trip instantly with a “Yes, book number 2” and hop safely on the bus even on a stormy day.

This will probably be reality in a few years and more thereof. That is what we believe!