The Bus Passenger ‘Iceberg’: Making Sense of the Complex

“Public transport is incredibly complex, and historically the industry has done a good job of hiding that complexity from the public. How do we maintain this perception of simplicity in a world where people expect real-time everything ‘on tap’ via a phone?” 

This question was posed by Trapeze Group’s Paul Attenborough, during a lively Intelligent Transport webinar on 28 September that brought together a panel of public transport experts, including Ian Wright from Transport Focus, Gordon Dickson from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), PA Consulting’s Warwick Goodall and Richard Riley from Trapeze. 

The reality is that regardless how complex public transport may be – and the consensus is that it is more complex today than ever before – our objective is to simplify the experience for passengers. 

As this iceberg visual indicates (click for a larger image), it is vital to harness all available information resources, but to hide the details from the public, leaving them free to enjoy a peaceful, streamlined passenger experience.  

This, of course, is a lovely visual but a significant undertaking – especially so in global megacities where the complexity is magnified. 

To deliver the reliability and accuracy of solutions that meets passenger expectations and will drive ridership through the years to come, technology suppliers must be able to identify and harness available sources of data. But crucially they must also understand where the gaps are and know how to fill them. 

This is particularly important in the area of data standards, which must be supported and utilised wherever possible. But at the same time we must recognise that standards alone are currently not sufficient to ensure that information is completely accurate, every single time. 

Technology suppliers today must take the role of both solution providers and open data evangelists. But they must also implicitly understand their customers and the cities in which they operate. 

In this way we will move beyond current understandings of real-time passenger information, delivering ‘true’ real-time which removes data latency, enabling the most accurate possible information to reach passengers at all times. 

As this compelling webinar underlined, the scale of the challenge may be huge – but so is the opportunity before us. Delivery of accurate ‘true’ real-time information will drive a sustainable mobility revolution with the bus at its heart.  

You can watch the full webinar here