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Old November 12th, 2013, 09:12 AM   #1
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MISC | Public Transport Information Systems

This thread shall showcase public transport information systems across the world, the good, the bad, the ugly. Public transport includes metro, suburban trains, trams, buses, ferries, and the integration between them.

Information systems include everything involved with getting from where you are now to where you want to be, including ticketing, subway maps, signage, web sites and apps, gps and net connectivity, schedules, and real-time information systems. Information systems that don't involve the public (e.g. signalling systems) are off-topic.

Like in all other threads "my city is better than your city" is off-topic, but if there is something good in your city or bad in another (or vice versa), show it and why you think it is good or bad. Picture you just were named transportation czar of a new city tasked with making the best transport system on the planet, and you are looking for what else is out there.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 12:14 PM   #2
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A good warmup could be metro maps. I am surprised that there are no thread on those, at least I didn't find any by a cursory search.

Today's metro maps all over the world owe their debt to the London Underground map of 1933. It was cutting edge at the time.



What is the cutting edge metro or public transport map today 80 years later?
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Old November 12th, 2013, 12:28 PM   #3
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A good warmup could be metro maps. I am surprised that there are no thread on those, at least I didn't find any by a cursory search.
General thread: Subway/Metro/Tube maps

And for the more imaginative folks: Fantasy network maps

Maybe we could use this thread for discussions on information systems in general: PID's, directional signs, logos, general branding styles etc. Maps are just a specific part of such systems.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 06:29 PM   #4
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Good, metro maps is really such a large topic to easily overwhelm a thread.

While somewhat off-topic for an urban theme, there is also a thread on rail maps.

To jump from one of the oldest information systems (maps) to one of the newest, real-time information, showing when the bus/tram/train actually will arrive, rather than when it was supposed to arrive according to schedule.

I was positively impressed by the bus system in Karlstad, a small Swedish town between Stockholm and Oslo, for a few touches I haven't seen elsewhere. One is that the tv information system not only shows the next station (getting standard these days), connecting buses (less standard), but also how long you will have to wait for these buses. See 20 seconds into this video:

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Old November 12th, 2013, 10:23 PM   #5
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Ruter - the public transport authority for Oslo, Norway - provide great real time information for their metro, trams, buses and ferries.

The real time information is available at their website, in smart phone apps, on board all vessels and at a lot of stops (but not all). When you're waiting at a stop it will count down and let you know how long until next departure. When on board it will list the upcoming 3-4 stops, with audible information for the seeing impaired.

The iPhone app can be seen here:


Tickets, both single travel and periodic ones, can be bought online and in a smart phone app as well. As seen here:


Especially buses and trams struggle to keep their time schedule, due to heavy traffic, so real time information is a major time saver. I see when the bus is major delayed and can choose to ride the tram or metro instead.
Imo a great service to the customers.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 12:00 PM   #6
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I suspect that many cities may/should skip the scheduling stage completely and go straigth for real-time systems.

Beijing may have the most extensive bus system in the world, but there are no schedules, not even average frequencies, only when the first and last bus leaves the garage (which is uncomfortable when waiting for the last bus, has it left or not, you wouldn't know). Schedules would in any case be useless due to the notorious Beijing traffic. Real time systems would be far more practical.

An advantage of real time systems is that when it's working you are not reliant on schedules anymore, you forget them, and thus you don't get as angry and frustrated when a bus or metro is late, because you wouldn't know that, only your actual waiting time.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 07:45 PM   #7
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Schedules would in any case be useless due to the notorious Beijing traffic.
Don't forget that (proper) segregated bus lanes would allow buses to travel free from congestion, therefore increasing the frequency of the service.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 06:08 PM   #8
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For rail transport, is there any system in use or being developed that receives real time load data and thus provides information to passengers on which carriage to get onboard on to minimize crowding?
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Old November 17th, 2013, 02:14 AM   #9
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Most new metro trains are walk-through nowadays
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Old November 17th, 2013, 11:52 AM   #10
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I have wondered about the same thing myself, useful information is not just whether a particular bus or train is late, but also if it is overcrowded, particularly if there is a non-crowded alternative. But the system can only give this information if it has this information. Real-time information is conceptually simple, a GPS on every bus (or equivalent).

Knowing if a vehicle is overcrowded in transport modes that normally don't do reservations is a little more tricky. Buses that require passengers to register when entering and exiting could in principle add and subtract these registrations, but that is vulnerable for black riders and ghost passengers. This wouldn't work in a metro. We would then have to rely on some sort of sensor (seat, floor weight, CO2, or what have you), which probably would happen some day, but today that would be expensive and error-prone.

So no, I haven't heard of any such system running.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 04:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
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For rail transport, is there any system in use or being developed that receives real time load data and thus provides information to passengers on which carriage to get onboard on to minimize crowding?
The real time system in Oslo - mentioned above - seem to have this information for trams and buses. Not for metro though, for some reason.
I know there are passenger counters in each door, so it seems to keep track of how many enters an exits.

Their official website (www.ruter.no) does not provide this information, but an unofficial one does.
Check the column "Belegg" here: Rangerer.net - Jernbanetorget (foran Oslo S)

[IMG]http://oi41.************/2w5leug.jpg[/IMG]

The unofficial website also tell if the departure is delayed or not, which also lack in the official one.
Would be great to have all this info in a neat app on the smart phone.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 04:54 PM   #12
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In singapore ,the Bus Stations in the City areas have real-time information(RTI) screens and there are apps for SBS Transit's (one of the Operators that also runs the MRT system (NE and Downtown Line) Buses.

while the MRT stations do have RTI ,they do not give out more infomation if the Next Train is more than 6 Mins
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Old November 23rd, 2013, 11:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
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The real time system in Oslo - mentioned above - seem to have this information for trams and buses. Not for metro though, for some reason.
I know there are passenger counters in each door, so it seems to keep track of how many enters an exits.

Their official website (www.ruter.no) does not provide this information, but an unofficial one does.
Check the column "Belegg" here: Rangerer.net - Jernbanetorget (foran Oslo S)

The unofficial website also tell if the departure is delayed or not, which also lack in the official one.
Would be great to have all this info in a neat app on the smart phone.
Cool, I really didn't know that. They don't do occupancy rates for trains either, just checked. Counting passengers leaving/entering would seem somewhat error-prone, so I guess that is what they are testing.

Actually as a passenger I wouldn't want to know if a vehicle arriving is delayed, it could spoil my good mood... The exception is if it is significantly delayed as that might indicate a mishap somewhere, and potentially further delays.

If occupancy could be made reliable it should be possible to ask for the quickest way to get from here to where you want to be, using public transport that is not overfull.
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Old November 23rd, 2013, 11:17 PM   #14
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I know that our 125 new trolleybuses and 175 buses will have some sort of passenger counting system. I just don't know how correct it will be. Especially when the vehicle is full. But probably that system will be just for statistics of ridership and fare dodgers and not for the people - sad.

During events one mode of travel might be at full capacity while other is.. less full. In regular morning people usually distribute more evenly because they know when what is full and what is more empty.

But our transport system during special events proves two things:
1)40m long trams can be seriously overcrowded even with 2 minute intervals.
2)People aren't necessarily sad or angry in an overcrowded vehicle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5o6QcAYlZg
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Old November 24th, 2013, 09:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I know that our 125 new trolleybuses and 175 buses will have some sort of passenger counting system. I just don't know how correct it will be. Especially when the vehicle is full. But probably that system will be just for statistics of ridership and fare dodgers and not for the people - sad.
They count the passengers even in the old buses/trolleybuses/trams via e-talons (the electronics, touchless tickets in Riga), that's why even persons who get to ride for free must register the ride.
Also if you have a personilized e-talons (which is registered to your name and ID code) if you start some criminal activities it's easier for the police to locate you, because RS saves the data (for some time) which ticket ride which transport at which day/time.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 11:31 AM   #16
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Small Noises: Designing for People On two station announcements in Paris, and two different horns.
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Even passengers within the bus, not necessarily concerned with the driving conditions outside, are eased by the bare awareness that their vehicle takes its place in the human scale of the city. “Ting – we’re here”, is a vastly different psychological gesture to “PRAARP – GET OUT OF MY WAY”.
I like the station announcements in Prague transport, that for the metro is also twice, because they also include the following station, so that you can prepare to leave. But it had led to people unaware of the system to jump off one stop early, if they don't know Czech. They will hear "Blah blah NEXT STATION blah blah blah blah FOLLOWING STATION", and if they are nervous about getting off they easily jump of at NEXT STATION because they heard FOLLOWING STATION being mentioned.

Assuming that dynamic screens become commonplace, usually displaying several stations ahead, the announcements will likely only play a secondary role (e.g. to wake those up that have their faces too deeply in the phone screens), except to those with impaired vision, or those in really full cars.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 12:01 PM   #17
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They count the passengers even in the old buses/trolleybuses/trams via e-talons (the electronics, touchless tickets in Riga), that's why even persons who get to ride for free must register the ride.
But it's not very accurate. For example, if you every weekday use tram 6 to travel between work and home and Alfa supermarket but on the weekends like to visit your relatives in Ķengarags then you are better off buying a monthly ticket only for tram 3 because you can still use tram 6 but have the benefit of getting to Ķengarags with no extra expenses. And so the 3*5 times a week you use tram 6 but you mustn't validate the ticket because of... reasons.
And that is legal but the statistics will be that you use only tram 3 8 times a month. Although you also use tram 6 63 times.
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