By Occitandu34 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
With more than 120 million trips last year spanning two subway lines, two tram lines, and 150 bus routes, Tisséo is the public transit operator for the Toulouse metro area in the south of France that is home to more than 1 million people. Over the next several years, its innovative Linéo project will be ramping up to bring unique rapid-transit bus/tram hybrid vehicles to the streets to serve more than 100,000 commuters.
As the public-transit authority for the greater Toulouse area, Tisséo is the transportation provider that thousands of passengers rely on each day. Its 500-plus buses are equipped with WiFi-based automatic vehicle monitoring systems (AVMSs) that connect to backend systems when the buses reach any Tisseo depot. While that’s been valuable for collecting fare data and route-monitoring, when those buses are out on the road, they lack real-time connections to the dispatch center that would show location, speed, next stops, and more.
As part of its ongoing investment in innovation, Tisséo plans to rollout a line of new 160 new Lineo rapid-transit vehicles that combine characteristics of trams and buses. According to Nicolas Boutté, project leader for Tisséo, the Lineo deployment represented an attractive opportunity to improve the rider experience. “Lineo vehicles will have embedded advertising-supported displays with real-time traffic, route, and location information for passengers,” he said. “But we needed more than our basic in-depot WiFi connectivity. We needed 4G connections out on the roads, so that the Lineo vehicles are continuously connected to our dispatch office.”
Seizing the opportunity to deliver this enhanced experience to attract and retain riders, Tisséo turned to the Digi TransPort® WR44 R to deliver cellular communications. The Digi TransPort WR44 R is a rugged, enterprise-class mobile-access router designed specifically for transit agencies and authorities that need reliable communications for onboard systems such as security video, fare collection, CAD/AVL, VoIP dispatch, and passenger Wi-Fi. Fare collection and mobile ticketing systems generally require PCI compliance, which the WR44R provides through its stateful firewall, IPSec VPN, network segmentation, and authentication. And Digi Remote Manager™ enables efficient and effective network operations, providing critical functions such as mass updates, configuration profiling, and fleet monitoring with performance metrics reporting and alarms.
“We benchmarked several similar products,” said Boutté, “and tested them on our vehicles to check all of the critical features, such as bus integration, network configuration, quality of communications, and security. Digi’s router was the best answer for our agency. The double-SIM slot, 4G connections, and advanced protocol support translate into faster start-up time and lower power consumption. The installation is easy and straightforward – about one hour per vehicle. We also prefer Digi’s user-friendly web interface.”
With the Digi TransPort WR44 R, Tisséo’s Lineo vehicles have a permanent back-office connection that can use either 4G cellular connections on the road or WiFi when in the depots. The initial deployment to 40 vehicles will be complete in 2016, with another 120 vehicles set to come online over the subsequent four years. “This solution will allow us to push real-time traffic information to our displays,” Boutté said. “We’ll also have tools to monitor the Lineos. For instance, we’ll know where every vehicle is so we can update all of our passengers through our mobile app and show when the next vehicle will be at any given stop.”
Tisséo also plans to display advertising content on the displays to defray costs and provide an additional source of revenue for the agency. “At any time, we can update those ads remotely through the Digi connection,” he said.
Moving forward, Tisséo is considering additional services powered by the remote connectivity, including security video, passenger ticketing, and predictive vehicle maintenance. “Digi has been a great partner with on this project,” said Boutté. “If this program succeeds, as we expect it will, we will also consider deploying the WR44 R on our hundreds of buses as well.”