On any given weekday, the Transport for London network has radio call-volumes of over 60,000 per day, reaching 74,000 during major events. To keep a complex transport network like that running smoothly, it's essential to have a communications system that is reliable, flexible and interoperable.
Over the last 15 years, Tait has provided Transport for London with innovative, flexible and cost-effective solutions that enabled TfL to continuously evolve and improve its communications and service to the London public.
The integration of a Push-To-Talk-over-Cellular solution with the Tait DMR Tier 3 network in 2020 – which was instrumental in an award-winning COVID-19 response – is the latest chapter in a long-term relationship that started in 2005, when Tait replaced TfL’s existing analog network with a trunked MPT radio solution that greatly improved coverage, capacity, and availability of the communications network.
A Push-To-Talk-over-Cellular (PTToC) solution was a fundamental part of the contract for the 2019 upgrade to a DMR tier 3 network. To provide a reliable and robust service, Tait engineers had to implement one of the most complex PTToC integrations seen to date.
The Tait TeamPTT solution that was delivered is fully interoperable with TfL's DMR network, and allows TfL staff to talk to the drivers in TfL's 9,500 buses directly using their smartphones, removing the need to carry a separate radio.
TfL have used the PTToC integration in their daily operations through the COVID-19 crisis. When TfL needed to add more buses to its fleet to provide the capacity needed for social distancing, TfL and Tait worked together to quickly modify the Tait TeamPTT solution to make it suitable for use by the external bus drivers.
The whole project came together in less than 4 weeks: 80 buses were added to TfL's PTToC service which provided a communications link to their control center and an emergency line to TfL’s Network Management Control Center.
The innovation, product reliability and quality shown in this project won Transport for London and Tait Communications a prestigious International Critical Communications Awards (ICCA) for “Best Use of Critical Communications in Transport” at the 2020 Critical Communications Week.
Source: LinkedIn, August 2020
In March 2019, Tait completed the digital upgrade of Transport for London's surface fleet, fitting London's red buses with digital radio communications.
The radio system provides robust and reliable voice and data connections between all buses and TfL's network of dispatch and control centers. Tait designed the new system to be both a resilient system for today's needs and as a digital platform for future applications.
The on-bus equipment is based on the Tait Unified Vehicle platform, which gives access to multiple bearers in addition to mobile radio, including cellular and WiFi, and the ability to run custom applications to improve operational efficiency and the service provided to travelers.
For a communications network of this size, proactive monitoring and management is essential. To ensure the network is running smoothly and its performance and TfL's compliance to KPIs could be measured, the network is managed and monitored by Tait EnableInsight software and Tait Managed Services around the clock.
Tait manufactured and replaced both the communications infrastructure providing coverage across Greater London and the radios on London's fleet of almost 10,000 buses. Upon completion, the network will be the largest private mobile radio network in Europe.
Source: taitradio.com: 23/03/2018
In 2015, TfL chose to continue their critical communications partnership with Tait for another five years. This new contract allowed TfL to extend the life of their 'iBus' radio system to ensure maximum return on investment in their wider network.
As part of the original contract with TfL, the Tait system was customized to integrate TfL's existing Trapeze ITS dispatch equipment and TM8200 mobiles with the 'iBus' on-board bus computer, ensuring optimal voice communications between dispatchers and bus drivers.
Source: taitradio.com: 19/05/2015
Tait and TfL's partnership started in 2005, when TfL’s existing radio network needed a complete replacement following obsolescence of core infrastructure and an increase of bus and passenger services.
Tait and TfL have been working together to deliver a reliable and consistent bus service to keep London moving ever since.
Tait delivered a 10 site (VHF), 76 channel trunked MPT 1327 network to support high-quality voice and data applications. The project also introduced state-of-the-art Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) and offered passengers Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) at bus stops, on-board voice and signs, and SMS text messaging.
It all started back in the early 2000s, when the radios installed in London buses became obsolete. TfL then required a radio with similar functionality that could be fitted in buses without modification to the existing system, and without significant changes to the user interface.
Tait responded to this challenge by combining an external interface module, developed by London-based Pageantry Electronic Services Ltd, with a modified Tait T2032 radio that was fully compatible with the existing system and provided users with a similar interface.
This collaboration between Tait and a local integrator proved the beginning of a long-term partnership between TfL and Tait.
March, 2018 - Contact signed - Transport for London chooses Tait to upgrade 10,000-strong London bus fleet
May, 2019 - Project completion - Tait Communications completes Transport for London upgrade
Tait manages the communications network of one of the largest transport authorities in the world, with over 2 billion journeys made in their network each year. To ensure high-reliability voice and data connections between all buses and dispatch and control centres, proactive monitoring and management of the communications networks is essential.Watch the Network Performance Management video