Bus GPS Navigation

Gui­ded navi­ga­ti­on for public buses — No more detours when rescheduling

Navi Bus

Trans­port com­pa­nies are incre­a­sing­ly using chan­ging dri­vers who are unfa­mi­li­ar with the area. This makes gui­ded navi­ga­ti­on neces­sa­ry even for public buses with fixed rou­tes. In lar­ge cities in par­ti­cu­lar, the­re are also fre­quent chan­ges to rou­tes due to clo­sures, road works or acci­dents. A spe­cia­list for modu­lar system solu­ti­ons for local public trans­port has the­r­e­fo­re sup­ple­men­ted its on-board com­pu­ter soft­ware with a navi­ga­ti­on solu­ti­on to meet the new requi­re­ments. Through inter­faces to the time­ta­ble plan­ning system, the rou­te infor­ma­ti­on of the lines can be easi­ly trans­fer­red and through inter­faces to the con­trol cent­re, resche­du­ling is easy and flexible.

ATRON elec­tro­nic GmbH in Markt Schwa­ben near Munich deve­lo­ps modu­lar system solu­ti­ons for local public trans­port. It is acti­ve throug­hout Euro­pe and has bran­ches in Dort­mund and Leip­zig as well as in Bronschho­fen (Switz­er­land), Lin­kö­ping (Swe­den) and Zagreb (Croa­tia). Its ran­ge of com­ple­te solu­ti­ons for trans­port com­pa­nies extends from ticket ven­ding machi­nes and on-board com­pu­ters to sales back­ground systems and con­trol cent­re systems. The on-board com­pu­ter was ori­gi­nal­ly deve­lo­ped for dri­ver-ope­ra­ted sales, but is now the com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on cent­re bet­ween vehic­le, peri­pherals, dri­ver and back­ground system as well as con­trol centre.

Demand for gui­ded navi­ga­ti­on for public buses

The­re is a gro­wing need for gui­ded navi­ga­ti­on for dri­vers: Trans­port com­pa­nies have pro­blems fin­ding dri­vers at all. They chan­ge fre­quent­ly and are usual­ly no lon­ger fami­li­ar with the area. Whe­re in the past it was super­fluous to pro­vi­de a dri­ver with rou­te gui­dance, as they were usual­ly fami­li­ar with the area, it is now often necessary.

In addi­ti­on to pre­cise rou­ting, com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on with the con­trol cent­re is also beco­ming incre­a­sing­ly important. Espe­ci­al­ly in lar­ge cities, the need for resche­du­ling is gre­at: if the­re are obs­truc­tions such as acci­dents or rou­te clo­sures, the con­trol cent­re has to resche­du­le the rou­te of a line. It can also hap­pen that dri­vers and vehic­les are moved ad hoc and assi­gned a new rou­te, for exam­p­le if a bus has bro­ken down and a prio­ri­ty line has to be ser­ved. The com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on usual­ly took the form of text or voice ins­truc­tions. Howe­ver, both for­mats are pro­ble­ma­tic as soon as seve­ral vehic­les are affec­ted. It costs the dis­patchers a lot of time to brief each dri­ver again ver­bal­ly. And text ins­truc­tions quick­ly reach a gre­at length; in addi­ti­on, lan­guage bar­riers can lead to com­pre­hen­si­on pro­blems. If the dri­vers are not fami­li­ar with the loca­ti­on, they are not hel­ped by the men­ti­on of street names.

Navi Bus

ATRON Rou­te Gui­de on-board com­pu­ter with inte­gra­ted Map­Trip GPS navigation

ATRON Rou­te Gui­de sol­ves this pro­blem of public trans­port: The soft­ware of the on-board com­pu­ter is sup­ple­men­ted with the navi­ga­ti­on soft­ware Map­Trip of the pro­vi­der info­wa­re GmbH from Bonn.

Way­po­ints and stop coor­di­na­tes are impor­ted from the time­ta­ble plan­ning tools into the appli­ca­ti­on so that the line rou­tes are available.

Gui­ded navi­ga­ti­on sup­ports the dri­ver by means of acou­stic and visu­al indi­ca­ti­ons on a road map when tra­vel­ling the rou­te of a line (so-cal­led refe­rence rou­te), which usual­ly extends from the initi­al stop to the final stop.

In the event of dis­rup­ti­ons that make it neces­sa­ry to resche­du­le the rou­te, the con­trol cent­re trans­mits the new refe­rence rou­te to the affec­ted vehic­les: for this pur­po­se, the way­po­ints and modi­fi­ed stops of the new refe­rence rou­te of the line jour­ney are loa­ded onto the on-board com­pu­ter. The map mate­ri­al is stored in the system — only the rou­te chan­ges, i.e. the chain of GPS points that make it up.

Thus, the new rou­te is given to the dri­ver and dis­play­ed on the com­pu­ter so that he can dri­ve it. The dis­play on the on-board com­pu­ter is sup­port­ed as clas­sic navi­ga­ti­on with rou­te arrows and announcements.

Solu­ti­on inte­gra­ted by the navi­ga­ti­on specialist

As a full-ran­ge sup­plier, ATRON offers hard­ware and soft­ware solu­ti­ons for public trans­port and also works with part­ners for this pur­po­se: For exam­p­le, com­pon­ents for the payment func­tion with debit and cre­dit cards are inte­gra­ted into the products.

The spe­cial field of navi­ga­ti­on was also to be cover­ed by a specialist’s pro­duct. During the sel­ec­tion pro­cess, dis­cus­sions and demon­stra­ti­ons took place with various pro­vi­ders. “We had the impres­si­on that info­wa­re, with their expe­ri­ence with refe­rence rou­tes, came clo­sest to our needs,” says pro­duct mana­ger Horst San­der. The com­pa­ny equips public uti­li­ties and waste coll­ec­tion com­pa­nies with navi­ga­ti­on systems — that’s why the step to using them in buses as ano­ther use case was not far away.

The decis­i­on to purcha­se the navi­ga­ti­on system was made at the end of 2018. The Rou­te Gui­de is curr­ent­ly in the test pha­se. The plan is to roll out this soft­ware func­tion to the first cus­to­mers in the midd­le of the year. Seve­ral trans­port com­pa­nies have alre­a­dy purcha­sed this functionality.

Inter­face to the time­ta­ble system alre­a­dy available

The gre­at advan­ta­ge of the solu­ti­on is that the refe­rence rou­tes are per se available in the back­ground system in which the time­ta­bles are mana­ged. The inter­face to import, pro­cess and dis­tri­bu­te time­ta­bles to the on-board com­pu­ters is available and does not have to be reprogrammed.

Other navi­ga­ti­on systems lack this inter­face to the back­ground system — they can­not easi­ly import refe­rence rou­tes from dif­fe­rent sources.

The Rou­te Gui­de is not only sui­ta­ble for the on-board com­pu­ters of public trans­port buses, but also for smal­ler devices such as Android tablets or smart­phones. With the APP ASVL (ATRON Smart Vehic­le Loca­ti­on), ATRON pro­vi­des an AVLC cli­ent appli­ca­ti­on for mobi­le devices, which can easi­ly be exten­ded by the Rou­te Gui­de func­tion­a­li­ty. This pro­vi­des the dri­ver with the same func­tions as the on-board com­pu­ter. Tablet or smart­phone are used as dri­ver ter­mi­nals in mini­buses, on-demand trans­port or call taxis that sup­port public transport.


New, unknown rou­tes, sur­pri­sing resche­du­ling or detours due to road works: Espe­ci­al­ly in lar­ge cities, the rou­ting of bus rou­tes can chan­ge quick­ly. In order to gui­de the dri­vers safe­ly, a tool that con­nects navi­ga­ti­on with the time­ta­ble system in the back­ground is a good idea. This way, the con­trol cent­re can react quick­ly and trans­mit the new rou­tes to the dri­vers direct­ly in the system.

bus gps navigation

Fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on: www.atron.com.

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