Passenger’s Engineering Director Dave Hulbert, and Engineering Lead Andy Leon join Matt and Tom to explain how they have been able to deliver accurate, robust and reliable updates to help essential travellers plan their travel around social distancing recommendations. 

When Dave, Andy and their team were faced with the challenge of delivering crowdedness and cleanliness data to users, they immediately knew that using multiple streams and sources of data would be crucial to accuracy.

By combining crowdsourced data and data from ETM hardware suppliers, it was possible to measure the accuracy of those things against each other. Crowdsourced data can then provide more subjective markers for how much space there actually is left on a vehicle – which fundamentally is the information the end-user needs to be privy to be able to safely plan a journey.

They were both in agreement that accuracy was the most important element in reassuring users and giving them back a sense of control. As the UK moves towards reopening businesses, those who have been in lockdown for some time must have the confidence to be able to make their essential journeys on public transport.

Throughout development, longer-term benefits of building on existing Enhanced Vehicle Information technology became apparent. Now, Passenger apps and websites can communicate information on a vehicle’s remaining space, cleanliness and more – including details on available wheelchair or buggy bays. As Dave explains in this week’s podcast, offering users data like this could help by directing users to less busy bus stops or even signpost them to other shared transport routes available to them, such as local bike-share schemes.

Andy outlines how combining these data sources together is the key. By giving each source different weighting depending on how accurate they are known to be and how recently they were reported or recorded, bus users can be provided with an honest and clear indicator of how their journey might look in real-time – allowing them more information to be able to make important decisions.

Making Passenger is an ongoing conversation about digital technology and mass transit mobility trends. We invite anyone who’s interested to get in touch on Twitter @makingpassenger or at [email protected]

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