Real-time information in rural areas

IVU systems inform passengers throughout the Stuttgart region
(PresseBox) (Berlin, ) The demands on public-transport are continually growing, because passengers expect to be offered the levels of comfort that they enjoy in their own car. In order to persuade car drivers to switch over to buses, trams, and trains, it must be possible to plan journeys with public transport effectively. Widespread real-time information and reliable connections have thus become a key factor for a modern public transport operator - including in rural areas. While railway companies and large urban transport operators usually have their own powerful operation control systems, smaller bus companies do not generally process any real-time data. In the light of this, Stuttgart's Transport and Tariff Association (VVS - Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund Stuttgart) began a pilot project in 2010 to introduce a centralised information system (RBL-light). The goal is to successively integrate all the transport companies throughout the area served by the association. The order was placed with the Berlin software company IVU Traffic Technologies AG. After the pilot project has been successfully concluded at the end of the year, the widespread implementation is planned by 2014. Real-time departure times will then be available electronically for all bus, tram and rail lines in the Stuttgart region.

A few weeks ago, VVS in Stuttgart signed a framework contract for the expansion of the system for the other transport operators in the region. Some 1,000 buses of the 40 companies organised in the association will be integrated in the new information system. The functions of the operation control system IVU.fleet and the passenger information IVU.realtime have been slimmed down in order to produce a light-version of the original system which is relatively easy to operate. This so-called RBL-light offers important advantages for smaller transport companies, in particular. They do not need to have their own operation control system or trained control personnel. Each company can be integrated into the system provided by the association, which can handle multiple clients without compromising their data ownership. Financial expenditure is thus much lower. Even if the operators have different vehicle technologies this does not represent a problem. Whether IVU on-board computers, ticket printers, or tablet solutions - all hardware components can be linked through the new RBL-light system.

An important new innovation for the passengers which can be realised with RBL-light is the pooling of information about connections between operators. The available bus, tram, and train services are then more effectively linked with one another. The system informs the drivers about the up-dated times of all relevant vehicles, so that they can wait if there are any delays. This represents a considerable improvement in particular when passengers want to change between the urban light railway (S-Bahn) and the regional bus services, so that a much more convenient service can be provided.

"Things that are meanwhile part of everyday life in the cities should now also be provided in the rural areas," comments Andreas Hellwig, Head of Department at IVU Traffic Technologies AG. And he envisages interesting prospects for the future: "Timetable data available throughout the association is only the beginning. The exchange of information between vehicles from the various public transport companies across the federal state could also be realistic. The customer wants to know whether the connecting bus will be waiting or not". Heinz-Dieter Oldenbürger, passenger information manager at VVS is pleased: "With the real-time information, we will be able to inform passengers much better". Oldenbürger draws attention to the significant increase in the numbers of users for the electronic timetable information service: "Thanks to real-time information we are now answering more than a million travel enquiries every day through our website and our app".


IVU Traffic Technologies AG
Bundesallee 88
D-12161 Berlin
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