Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Bus information system gets green light

Bus information system gets green light

The real time passenger information and signal pre-emption system on Auckland City’s Link bus service is to be rolled out across remaining bus routes.

Auckland City Council’s transport committee has decided stages two and three of the $6.9 million project, covering radial arterial routes and cross-town routes, should proceed.

Councillor Greg McKeown, the Transport Committee’s chairperson, says the committee knows there have been delays with implementing Stage One, but there have been no cost overruns.

“We must press ahead with improving our bus services across the region and using technology, increasing bus numbers and creating bus lanes are all part of making that improvement,” Mr McKeown said.

“The anticipated benefits of the signal pre-emption and real time information system are already being seen. Monitoring of the system has shown 11 seconds has been shaved off the wait at many intersections for the buses and many journeys on the Link route are eight minutes quicker. That exceeds the project’s initial expectations.”

Mr McKeown says the decision is based not only on a comprehensive review of the system and the recommendations of two engineering consultants’ reports, but also on the bouquets the system has been receiving.

Blind and vision-impaired passengers are crediting the information system on the 24 bus Link fleet for enhancing their independence.

The Saab ITS system includes electronic signs at bus stops and on the buses that provide information about the next bus arrival or the next bus stop to be reached.

But for passengers with vision impairment it’s an audio part to the system they are finding so helpful.

Chris Inglis, Blind Awareness and Prevention divisional manager of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind says many of the foundation’s members catch the Link between the Foundation in Parnell and the Britomart Transport Centre in downtown Auckland.

“We’ve had feedback that it’s great not to have to rely on someone to tell them if a bus has just been, or how long they may have to wait for the next one and when they are nearing their destination,” Ms Inglis says. “ It makes them independent. They can make their own decisions.”

The foundation is keen to see the system extended throughout the city and the Auckland branch of the Association of Blind Citizens NZ has added its support.

Russell Turnbull, marketing manager for Stagecoach, says the transport firm is also keen to see the system rolled out to other areas. He says there are a variety of reasons for that, but they include evidence patronage on the Link route is increasing at a greater rate than comparable routes.

“Link passengers have commented on the increased reliability of the service and the usefulness of the arrival information,” Mr Turnbull says.

The signal pre-emption part of the system, has also meant drivers are less frustrated by waits at intersections that contributed to them not being able to keep to schedule, he says. Buses equipped with GPS communicate their positions on the route to the council’s traffic signals system, which uses this information to adjust individual traffic lights to reduce delays.

The system has also had a spin off for Stagecoach operationally, Mr Turnbull says. The system provides data which is tantamount to giving the operations team a “helicopter view” of how the buses are running. That has led to fine-tuning of general operating practices.

Bus passengers have not always been so supportive. Software glitches and information co-ordination difficulties, arising from the integration of traffic light, traffic and bus movement data from several sources in the trial stages, generated complaints early on in the trial.

But monitoring shows the system has been meeting its 99.8% system availability targets for the past two months.

Two separate reviews of the project, by Australian-based engineering consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff and New Zealand’s Maunsell, make recommendations for some fine-tuning and support implementation of stages two and three.

The council selected Australian-based Saab ITS after a robust tendering process in 2002. Saab has a larger earlier generation system operating in Brisbane.

The total set up cost for all stages amounted to almost $6.9 million, which will be funded by Infrastructure Auckland ($3.1 million) Transfund ($3.2 million) and Auckland City Council.

It has been proposed that operating costs be jointly funded by Auckland City Council, Auckland Regional Council and bus operators. However, the Transport Committee noted at its meeting on 7 April that it believed in the medium term responsibility for the further development, operation and funding of the system should reside with a regional agency such as the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA).

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>


Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>


Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>


Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>


United Future History: "All Good Things Must End"

'We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years, working alongside the government of the day, both National and Labour.' Mr Light told members on Monday. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Outcome, And The Hobbit Law

Somehow the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal has come lurching back from the dead – and as predicted in this column last week, the member countries gathered in Vietnam have announced a deal in broad principle, shunted aside until a later date the stuff on which they don’t agree, and declared victory. More>>

Agreeing To Differ: Greens Maintain Opposition To TPPA
“The Green Party has long opposed the TPPA. The new proposed deal, which came out of the weekend’s talks, still contains key ISDS concessions to corporations that put our democracy at risk, so our position remains the same,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman. More>>


Monitoring Report: A New Chapter For Children’s Rights In New Zealand?

The Children’s Commissioner is calling on the country to embrace children’s rights to ensure their overall well-being. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election