Blog post:

A year in passenger information: reflections on 2015

Paul Everson | January 15, 2016

Tags: Passenger info | social media | RTPI |

At the start of last year, I made a number of predictions about trends in passenger information that we were likely to see develop over the course of the year. As we move into 2016, I thought it would be interesting to reflect back on these predictions, and see how much of what I said came true…

Prediction #1: Public transport will become more personal

As I pointed out in this article, the use of social media by transport organisations to push information to travellers has increased; but has its own drawbacks. The chief of these being the indiscriminate nature of social media travel updates versus the need to provide passengers with information uniquely relevant to them.

Over the course of the year, we have seen evidence of organisations taking heed of this more personalised approach to passenger information. For example, our ongoing project with Traveline Scotland will see passengers be able to sign up to travel updates and alerts that are specifically tailored to them and their own personal travel requirements.

Indeed, over the year we have seen increasing evidence that the idea of personalised push notifications is becoming more accepted within the transport sector. It seems likely that this trend will continue into the year ahead.

Prediction #2: Real-time information and disruptions will become the norm

The rise of real time and disruption feeds as APIs have made it possible for bus and rail operators to include real-time updates in their public facing passenger information systems.

We’ve seen hard evidence of this ourselves. For example, Stagecoach recently updated their web offering (a project Trapeze was involved with), and now present real time and disruptions to passengers as a matter of course. Indeed, there seems to be a realisation that it is both necessary to provide this information, and eminently possible to do so, using tools that are now available.

As real-time information becomes more prevalent, it shows that the industry is responding to the needs of the passenger out on the street.

Prediction #3: Integration, integration, integration

With the emergence of concepts such as ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS), we have seen a corresponding increase in the demand among passengers for a single site where they can access all the information that they need.

From a position of having a number of websites, our clients in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire have each consolidated their content into a single, branded portal.  For our part, Trapeze has developed an advanced API that enabled this integration.

We also make use of 3Scale’s API management platform which allows our customers to expose their data to a wider community of users in a controlled and effective manner.

Prediction #4: Popularity of mobile platforms will increase

Our work over 2015 with both Stagecoach and with Traveline Scotland reflected the clear trend of passengers using mobile devices, rather than traditional desktop computers. Indeed, the use of responsive web design now seems to be a perquisite in passenger information solutions.

What is more, the need to consider the mobile has seen other developments in passenger information. For example, passenger information tools have become increasingly location aware – meaning that, because the mobile device knows where passengers are, the passenger information systems are able to tell the passengers exactly where they need to be, and which stops they need to get to.

To the year ahead

With 2015 now drawn to a close, it seems logical to look forward to the year ahead. I’ve made some predictions of how I see passenger information developing in 2016 here – but what do you think? What are the areas that will continue to develop and change within the industry? And what can we do to ensure we are delivering passenger information most effectively? You can join our webinar, which will discuss some of these points, on 27 January. Register for free here!

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About Paul Everson

Paul Everson is Trapeze's Product Manager (Travel Information). He has been working in public transport for 18 years and joined Trapeze in 2008. Paul says: "My role within Trapeze is a mix of product and account management, which suits my interests and skillset. I find it exciting to be part of an industry that is constantly evolving".

Read more posts by: Paul Everson