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  • Harrogate, Untided Kingdom

    On-time arrival in the Real-time world

  • Harrogate, Untided Kingdom

On-time arrival in the Real-time world

Many public transport operators in the United Kingdom want to expand their dynamic passenger information systems. And more and more operators are placing their trust in real-time solutions from Luminator. As a full-service provider, Luminator has combined high-quality hardware with software for the calculation of real-time information, together with simple management and configuration tools. In close cooperation with bus manufacturers and transport companies they produce efficient, dynamic passenger information systems with comprehensive service.

The first to take advantage of this was Harrogate: since November 2020 all real-time data runs through a dedicated data hub in the cloud. Second-precise, real-time info is calculated from GPS data from the vehicles’ display control system together with data from the timetables. Only in this way can accurate, consistent real-time information be displayed to passengers on all devices. The functionality is monitored by means of software-as-a-service solutions, enabling improvements as needed. Continuous remote integration tests supplement Luminator service for quality assurance of the real-time system.
Harrogate has expressed its satisfaction with our end-to-end solution, and word has spread in the British Isles. Today, over 200 buses equipped with Luminator hard- and software are operating for Transdev, McGills, Brighton, Llew, Blackpool and GO North East. Our realtime systems for e-buses and solar powered e-paper displays at stations are in particularly high demand.

Challenges

Implementation of a software solution in the shortest possible time despite Covid-19 restrictions: in Harrogate a special data hub had to be made operable within three months.

Solution

The “PACIM” data hub and GPS-enabled “ICU602” onboard display control unit were adapted for realtime data exchange by radio. Parallel to this, remote tests were conducted in buses to ensure functionality in time for delivery of the vehicles.

Results

Despite the pandemic, the desired passenger information system was delivered to Harrogate on schedule: the arrival times of buses is displayed by countdown; connection and departure times are accurate to the second. The system is open for the integration of stationary displays or external services, e.g. the Cityzap passenger info app from Transdev.

"The partnership between Transdev, McKenna Brothers and Luminator for the customer information system on our SKY CLASS buses for Cityzap & Witchway has proven a success in giving customers better information on their journey. The large white destination displays give an automated countdown to departure (through a link with Ticketer) before customers board the bus. Once on board they have an ETA using real time information, taking into account road conditions, letting them know exactly when the bus is due to arrive at the final stop.

Thanks to the flexibility of the system, we were able to produce our own bespoke design of the layout of information on the internal screen, built on feedback our customers on previous projects on routes in Blackburn and Harrogate. Not only have we included all of the real time data but we have also been mindful that the most important information is always visible from all seats on the bus.

Throughout the journey, live, real time departures for bus and rail connections are shown at interchange points to help customers making onward journeys. Along motorway sections of routes, adverts for our Transdev Go app and other helpful products are displayed where the next stop is too far away to be as crucial for customers.

The announcements on board the Witchway are voiced by Jennie McAlpine (who plays Fiz in ITV’s Coronation Street), and by BBC weatherman Paul Hudson on Cityzap. These well recognised local voices have been a hit with our customers.

The partnership between Transdev and our suppliers have allowed us to improve our customers’ experience, giving them the confidence that their bus will depart and arrive on time plus take away the need to forward plan when changing buses, as the information is all displayed during the journey at the relevant times. We know that easily available and accurate information is one of the best ways to encourage customers onto the bus, so bringing these features, many of which are UK firsts, will help us to win customers from the car and part of our immediate vision to Build Buses Back Better."

Alex Hornby Chief Executive Officer, Transdev

"It’s been great working with McKenna’s on a state of the art, industry leading, passenger information solution for our ground-breaking fleet of full electric Voltra buses, a first for the North East of England.  

From the outset of delivering Voltra, our aim has been to deliver a game changing ‘bus of the future’ experience for our customers to raise the profile of zero emission public transport and drive modal shift and growth. McKenna’s, with luminator, have worked closely alongside us and the vehicle manufacturer on implementing high quality external destination displays with new dynamic functionality such as a GPS location link and countdown timer, and internally the buses feature a next stop audio visual system with the latest generation wide-aspect screens and a repeater screen for the wheelchair and buggy bay area, meaning that passengers right throughout the vehicle can clearly see and hear this important information.  

In delivering another first for our region, the displays also show connecting bus, rail and metro times as the bus approaches key interchanges. 

We’re living in a rapidly changing world where clear, timely and dynamically tailored service information is critical to aiding the dependability and useability of the public transport network. The overall package of Luminator products, fully integrated with other onboard systems including Ticketing, real-time tracking and Wi-Fi, alongside the set up and support provided by McKenna's, represents a step change in digital information for our customers, complementing our work on off-bus information including our app, website and open data."

Martijn Gilbert Managing Director, North East

“From a Mckenna Brothers plus UK point of view we have been extremely excited and proud in delivering this innovative and step changing project in conjunction with our close and collaborative relationship with both Transdev Blazefield and Go North East. In support of our customers testimonials, our innovative approach to the Real Time Information project bare testament to our customer plus the teams involved from both organisations in delivering these high level projects, which is in support of our continued shaping future technology roadmap.

Whilst our customers positive approach during and following COVID 19 , then we as a team are extremely committed in developing, delivering and supporting with our advance and innovative product range, albeit from our on vehicle, stationary signs or back office software we have all of the systems available in order to raise the high level of customer confidence and expectation.

Whilst we strategically see the future as dynamically different, we are highly confident that our technology roadmap will exceed and innovatively advance more  which will be a complement to the success delivered to date”

John Hartley Sales Manager, McKenna Brothers

Project Facts

Customer

Harrogate

Location

Harrogate, United Kingdom

Technology

Real-time 

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