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Public transport management

Public transport offers both “scheduled” services and “on-demand” services, run by the Transport Organising Authority; these may be urban or interurban and one of their key advantages is that they offer the user interconnectivity between these offers.

Today, the need for this intermodality to integrate all forms of transport according to the user’s needs is considered an essential requirement.

ITS applications in this field generally aim to meet this need for intermodality, and also for safety and day-to-day operations. Data collection and analysis are of course essential for planning these transport services.


Operation and Passenger Information Support Systems

1- Application to "line of sight" driving modes

With the development of electronic and digital telecommunications applications (late 20th century), the remote location of buses became a reality and the first real operation support systems (or rather management support systems) with a central control centre came into being in the 1970s.

Initially, these systems aimed to improve the management of public transport fleets and of reliability in terms of punctuality. However, it soon became apparent that these systems could also be used to provide passengers with real-time information (waiting times at bus stops, information on service disruptions etc.).

Towards the end of the 1980s, the first Operation and Passenger Information Support Systems came into use, associating an Operation Support System with different means for communicating to users such as displays boards at stops, information terminals or booths and telephone servers etc.

Operation and Passenger Information Support Systems have become an indispensable tool for public transport networks, both for Operating Authorities and for operators. They are used to ensure the proper functioning (management) of the network and to monitor the quality of service offered to passengers. The first objective is to improve reliability: This is vital to improve the image of public transport services and their attractiveness. As for the information part of the system, this cannot function without reliable location and punctual services.

2- Application to assisted or automatic driving modes

these modes usually use heavy vehicles which travel on dedicated tracks or lanes and can therefore reach much higher speeds;  these services may be driverless, and for services with drivers,they are assisted by means of block systems.

These dedicated tracks or lanes may cross level crossings which requires the installation of specific equipment according to the rules set out by the RFF (the company which owns and operates France’s rail infrastructure).

Operating systems have also evolved considerably and now offer the possibility for automatic driverless underground lines providing increased flexibility in terms of operations and a higher frequency of service.

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Road safety and public transport security

The decision to implement an Operation Support System is often taken to address the issues of staff and passenger safety. On-board video surveillance systems used in conjunction with an Operation and Passenger Information Support Systems are currently being developed, and excellent results have been obtained on the network in Nîmes. These results are often presented as a prime example of how this type of project can be implemented as the system was developed in close partnership between all stakeholders in the security sector, including the police and the legal system. These systems include the location of response vehicles which are contacted and guided in the event of an incident.

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Priority systems and managing reserved lanes

The use of GPS combined with an odometric system to locate buses has become standard practice; the GPS makes it possible to obtain an accurate and absolute location which is useful in the event of a change in route or loss of location signal. This trend is less evident for tramways for which odometry is associated with location loops to provide equal, or even increased, accuracy and security with regard to traffic signal priorities.

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Priority systems and managing reserved lanes

Article in progress

How can smart ticketing be used to improve public transport management?

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