The public transport companies in the Canton of Neuchâtel, Transports Publics Neuchâtelois SA (transN) opted once again for innovative telematics solutions from INIT. Since the 2012 merger between the two previously independent public transport companies, transN has been using two incompatible operations control and passenger information systems. These are now being replaced by INIT’s Intermodal Transport Control System MOBILE-ITCS. The existing passenger counting system MOBILE-APC, which is already installed in a part of the fleet, will be gradually upgraded to an Intermodal Transport Control System with integrated real-time passenger information.
The project calls for around 140 buses and 11 trams in Neuchâtel to be controlled using INIT’s MOBILE-ITCS. The vehicles will be fitted with the PC-based COPILOTpc2 on-board computer. In rolling out this equipment to its vehicle fleet, transN is benefitting from the integrated approach of the MOBILE product suite from INIT. Because some vehicles have already been fitted with the COPILOTpc on-board computer for passenger counting purposes, functionality can now simply be extended to the ITCS and passenger information systems by means of a simple software upgrade instead of replacing equipment.
Communication between vehicles and the central system, as in the passenger counting system, operates via public mobile phone networks (GSM/data). To improve passenger information, the vehicles are each being equipped with at least one PIDvisio TFT display screen.
The COPILOTpc2 takes care of all classical functions of an on-board computer, such as managing speech and data radio transmissions, as well as calculating location and the current timetable. In addition, the existing peripheral equipment in the vehicles, such as destination display and passenger counting system is controlled by COPILOTpc2 and supplied automatically with data.
COPILOTpc2 will also be utilised for the voice announcements. This enables the following features:
- Driver announcements in the passenger compartment
- Announcements from the ITCS to the driver and in the passenger compartment (without driver interaction)
- Automatic next stop announcements
- Automatic announcements of the new line and destination when this changes
TOUCHit2 will be used as the driver console. Thanks to its compact and ergonomic design it is easy to integrate into the driver’s cab. Bi-directional vehicles will have a driver console installed in each cab. The TOUCHit2 console uses a touchscreen where driver input can be made at multiple menu levels.
In addition, the MOBILE-ITCS can activate passenger information mp3 files stored on COPILOTpc2 without the driver having to do anything. The allocation and management of mp3 files to announcements is carried out in MOBILE-PLAN. Each stop can be allocated an announcement; the start time of which is defined by the number of metres since the last stop.
A major goal of the Neuchâtel public transport company is to offer travellers a new dimension in passenger information. INIT’s MOBILE-ITCS allows transN to assist passengers from planning their journey until they arrive at their destination. The control system tracks the locations of all vehicles and displays them at workstations in the control centre. It provides planners with all information they need to react with suitable measures to any disruptions of traffic. MOBILESTOPinfo, the integrated and dynamic passenger information system, calculates the current departure times of the vehicles and distributes the data in real time to all connected channels.
This means that passengers can be simply and conveniently informed about potential delays in real time. In addition, the passenger information also includes information about networks, timetables, connections and current traffic reports. For even higher convenience, the INIT system exchanges information with neighbouring public transport companies, enabling a passenger information system that covers multiple companies. This makes it much simpler for passengers to change over to the network of another transport company during their journey. The passengers can access information about the current public transport service via a variety of media (stop displays, internet, web apps). Based on this information they can then rapidly find a viable alternative route if there are delays or diversions.
Important stops are equipped with a four row, full matrix LED display (PIDmatrix) which informs passengers about the next departures.
This integrated and modular INIT system allows transN to organise local public transport more efficiently and to provide a better service to passengers. The aim is to change the way inhabitants travel in favour of more environmentally friendly public transport.