How to Make Busses More Efficient
Comprehensive tech news and reviews from GetConnected. This video focuses on how to make busses more efficient.
Male Speaker: One area where technology sure can make things efficient is transportation. We've got Drew Snider from TransLink with us today, thanks for joining us.
Drew Snider: My pleasure.
Male Speaker: I want to talk about buses and how you make them more efficient?
Drew Snider: Well we've got a number of things right now. One of them is this new platform we just invested $40 million and its a radio platform its called TMAC Transportation Management and Communications System and what TMAC can do is a number of things among them, its much improved radio communications between the Transit Communication Centre and the buses themselves. Very important that they can keep communications going because there are all sort of things that can happen, the bus operators can relay information about road closures or if there is an accident or if there is an onboard incident, somebody is sick they can get that information to Transit Communications and Transit Communications can dispatch police, ambulance, whatever is necessary for that. So the radio communication is very important there too but TMAC has got a lot of other things it will able to do once we get it on all our buses, one of them is that GPS capability will be part of that.
Male Speaker: Like we see in a lot of cars now.
Drew Snider: Exactly, exactly and for this transit communications or TCOM as we call it will be able to make decisions on scheduling if a bus runs behind, they'll be able to see exactly where the bus is they will able to go okay you're going to short turn which is to turn early and go back and start your return trip before you normally would. Just to keep on schedule with where you're supposed to be at that time. The other thing of course is the safety and security because sometimes you cant locate where the bus is, the driver, they got panic alarms, if there is an assault going on or something happening the driver can push that button but sometimes you can't locate where the bus is and the way it works rights now even in this high-tech ages you kind of know sort of where the bus is supposed to be at that time according to the schedule, so you got a transit supervisor at one end of that possible segment transit supervisor at the other end and they start moving together until they find the bus somewhere in between them right.
Male Speaker: Not highly efficient.
Drew Snider: No it isn't and you know precious minutes can be lost. So with the GPS on there they can know exactly where the bus is and respond accordingly.
Male Speaker: And are we seeing this in other jurisdictions as well like other cities.
Drew Snider: I believe there is, I believe in Toronto there is some systems that are doing that but right now we are doing, this is a very much a ground breaking bit of work that we are doing it, The South Coast PC Transportation Authority.
Male Speaker: Well one interesting thing we talked about just before the segment is the capability to know when that bus is coming as well.
Drew Snider: Yes indeed.
Male Speaker: That's kind of exciting.
Drew Snider: Yeah and that's one of the nice side benefits of GPS. In November we launched something called Next Bus. And with Next Bus you can use your text message system on your cellphone or Blackberry you can text to uptake a short code that we got a TransLink 33333, that's five threes okay. Each bus stop has got its own five digit number and you text that to 33333 and within a few seconds you get that next six buses scheduled to arrive at that stop.
Male Speaker: Perfect.
Drew Snider: But all that tells you is what's on the schedule so when the GPS is functional sometime later this year we are going to be able to send via written SMS message the next six buses that will actually arrive so you will know you know is it five minutes away, is there another bus two minutes after that or do you have to wait fifteen minutes that's sort of thing. So that's going to be big help for the consumer.
Male Speaker: Drew, why didn't they have when I was a kid, I'd be sitting waiting for that bus forever you know just missed it by a few minutes and I never know when the next bus is coming, that's amazing.
Drew Snider: Yeah, yeah it is that's one of the things we can do with TMAC, the other things that's the consumers really going to notice on there is something we've been working with our Access Transit people, people with disability issues and they've with them we worked out, we call it annunciators, automated next stop announcements, that come out over the PA system on the bus. Remember in the old days the bus driver used to call out the stops back when we were kids in those days and now its an automated thing so you've got the voice that comes on saying next stop is main street change your for whatever and that will be a big help for people with vision disabilities also for people who just plain cant hear anything or it can see what's going, there is an LED readout that also gives where the next stop is that's still in development but that's going to be coming up as we rollout the rest of TMAC throughout this year.
Male Speaker: So is this system going into all the fleet.
Drew Snider: All the buses some of the communities shuttles but not all but all of the conventional size buses will have that system.
Male Speaker: When are we getting Wi-Fi access?
Drew Snider: Well that's interesting, Wi-Fi is coming in Vancouver Island in a couple of the systems but they've only got like twelve buses on those systems.
Male Speaker: So you actually got Wi-Fi access on a bus.
Drew Snider: Yeah
Male Speaker: That must - that would be encouraging for lot of people that may be take their cars right now with value having that time to get little bit work done.
Drew Snider: Yeah as opposed doing a laptop work in the car which can be very messy But the thing is we got, you know its twelve buses in Comox Valley we got 1300 in Metro Vancouver.
Male Speaker: So it's a little bit more.
Drew Snider: That will be prohibitive and some of the other things they are still working through that to see if it's something that we really need.
Male Speaker: Yeah
Drew Snider: And right now it's not the highest in the priority list as for as a payback for actually running an effective system which is the main thing.
Male Speaker: Right, well thanks so much for joining us Drew. Where can people find a more information about TransLink?
Drew Snider: Well, you can log on for website at www.translink.bc.ca.
Male Speaker: Drew Snider from TransLink, soon your bus will be able to be located just about anywhere automatically.
Drew Snider: There is no escape.
How to Make Busses More Efficient
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