Nottingham has 640,000 residents with a journey-to-work population of about one million. More than 51 million annual passenger journeys are carried out on Nottingham City Transport's (NCT) fleet of 320 vehicles on 67 principal routes.
Like many British cities, Nottingham suffers from traffic congestion especially at peak periods. So the challenge for NCT is to have a radio system that will contribute to improving the reliability and punctuality of its fleet, ultimately giving customers confidence in public transport.
Traditionally NCT took a reactive stance to updating vehicle movements and timetabling. Drivers and control room staff used radios for one-tone voice calls to update information during routes. The control room personnel were reliant on drivers calling in their location details and any possible delays.
The company needed a communications solution that would give it the ability to proactively adapt and deregulate services, and acquire data that would assist with long-term timetable scheduling.
Tait provides the radio communications component of this complete transport solution which features Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL), an onboard integrated information system and capabilities for voice and data communication between vehicles and offices.
The backbone of the solution is the TaitNet MPT 1327 trunked radio network which provides radio coverage throughout the city. The network has a channel for voice calls and a TDMA channel to enable the transmission of data acquired from the AVL system.
A Tait TM8235 mobile radio is installed on each bus to allow for an on-board information system to be integrated into the radio network. The radios are linked to the INIT on-board COPILOT via MAP27 interface allowing drivers to control the radio and parts of the AVL system with one tool.
With the AVL data supplied via the TDMA channel, NCT control room staff are able to receive current information and forewarn drivers of potential delays. Passengers will also be updated with accurate information at the stop via the 'real time' (RTPI) signage and on the buses with the 'next stop' signage. In addition, historical data can be collected to illustrate trends of delays and provide genuine insight into time-table scheduling.
Fitting of RTPI is a partnership with local authority Nottingham City Council, which will erect the bus stop infrastructure. Therefore NCT plan to implement the infrastructure and rollout the programme on the routes with the RTPI signage.