What You Need to Know About Passenger Information Systems

What You Need to Know About Passenger Information Systems

The first thing you need to know about Passenger Information Systems is that your agency needs them. Possibly now, but definitely in the future. There will simply be no escape from the onslaught of mobile technology and the expectation of real time information delivery. Whether riders access your transit information on transfer station signs, electronic signs on the bus, or a mobile web app for accessible trip planning, your riders will make transportation decisions based upon the level of services your agency can offer.

Passenger Information Systems InfographicThe Proof is in the Stats

If you doubt the growing trend leading towards the rise of the machine, check out our infographic on the impact of mobile devices on community transportation. It is for this reason that your agency needs to consider implementing passenger information systems that can feed information to:

  • Web-enabled devices
  • SMS text services
  • Telephone IVR services
  • Transfer stations signs
  • On-board peripheral devices such as:
    • Annunciators
    • LED stop announcement signs
    • Headsigns

The Benefits of Passenger Information Systems

In short: increased ridership. The better access to your transit information, the more riders will choose transit as their means of transportation. The same is true (and more impactful) when a rider chooses a fixed route bus over a paratransit option. For some riders with disabilities, knowing a schedule or having a stop automatically announced is a deciding factor when choosing between a bus and a paratransit vehicle. So on the one hand, an agency can profit from the overall increase in ridership, but they can also see profit due to the reduction in resources needed to pay for costly paratransit services. And of course, the more information that all riders can access in their own way, on their own time, the less they will rely upon (and complain to) your call center.

So How Does a Passenger Information System Work?

You need to rely upon the data that you’re sharing with your riders. At the core of passenger information systems is an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). By collecting accurate data from a number of sources such as in-vehicle mobile data terminals (MDTs) and Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) updates, riders can access real time information. When all components are integrated, the entire system functions automatically with practically no maintenance requirements.

We’ve compiled a “Definitive Guide to Passenger Information Systems” that gives an overview of the individual components making up an end-to-end solution. Among the available tools, you’ll learn more about:

  • Mobile Web Apps
  • Google Trip Planning
  • Texting and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) options

You can take a look at the whitepaper here.