Adelaide commuters on select bus routes will have access to real-time arrival information within the month, but fellow travellers in Perth will have to wait until 2015 for the same service.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill today announced the roll-out of a GPS tracking network across the metropolitan public transport network in Adelaide, to be progressively completed from October and which would eventually take in 8000 stops and stations for buses, trains and trams.
From the outset passengers will be able to access the information via the Adelaide Metro website and on-site countdown screens, but eventually the government plans to release the data feeds to app developers.
The state has leveraged the network of GPS devices already installed into vehicles as part of its electronic ticketing system to deliver on the new capability.
In Perth the WA Public Transport Authority (PTA) wants to achieve this same synergy.
It just approached the market to set up its own GPS tracking network, and is also planning to upgrade its SmartRider electronic ticketing system - which went live in 2007 - asking tenderers to put forward hardware able to support both in unison.
Perth’s network of 1323 public buses has been struggling under increased pressure and congestion in recent years, with on-time arrival performance across the fleet dropping from 92 percent in 2000-01 to 75 percent in 2012-13.
The PTA hopes real-time tracking functionality will allow contracted bus operators “to better manage and delivery bus services” and “increase the satisfaction” of public transport patrons.
It is looking for a solution that will give PTA staff real-time service visibility, as well as historical data for analysis. For passengers, it will be able to predict the time a bus will arrive at their stop within a four-minute margin of accuracy.
Late running buses pulling into busy intersections will also be able to electronically request priority passage through traffic lights.
The system will run on public 3G and 4G networks, as well as PTA supplied wifi where available, and is expected to have an operational life of 15 years from the anticipated completion date of 1 October 2015.
Many other public transport systems have been operating GPS tracking systems for a number of years. The NSW Government has completed the roll-out of its Public Transport Information and Priority System (PTIPS) on public buses and is beginning on the private fleet.
Victoria will soon publicly release feeds from its own network to third parties to develop customer-facing real-time arrival apps.