Cityswift closes €2 million funding round as operators adopt AI-based bus crowding tool
CitySwift has raised €2 million in additional funding, as its industry-leading data engine is rolled out by two of the UK’s largest listed passenger transport providers to support social distancing and aid network recovery.
CitySwift, a leader in big data and machine learning for the public transport sector, has closed a funding round of €2m, bringing funding to date to €3.5m. The round was led by Irelandia Investments and Act Venture Capital, along with other notable transportation investors and entrepreneurs. All investors have been involved in both of CitySwift’s funding rounds.
CitySwift’s latest funding will speed up product development and the hiring of 25 new positions, in Ireland and remote, over the next 12 months. The hires will be across commercial and technical roles including business development, customer success, product, data science and engineering, fuelling the expansion of its business in the European market, where the company already works with a number of public authorities.
The funding announcement comes as CitySwift’s industry-leading specialist data engine has been adopted by a number of the UK’s largest listed passenger transport companies. It has recently been rolled out by National Express West Midlands – the largest bus operator in the UK outside London – and Go-Ahead Group, which has collective revenues of over €8 billion, where it is being used to reduce operating costs and increase reliability. The technology has enabled an agile response to social distancing measures and the easing of lockdown restrictions arising from COVID-19 – assisting the operators in planning and reacting to the new normal.
Dynamic public transport planning and optimising operations through data is set to play the main role in the recovery and new future of public transportation and mobility in cities, with CitySwift planning to be at the heart of the coming transport evolution.
Created and supported by industry experts, the CitySwift data engine uses big data and machine learning to increase network performance, service reliability and passenger satisfaction. It augments and seamlessly integrates with existing bus technology systems, providing a deeper understanding of network performance and enhanced network planning with significantly reduced timescales.
On partnering with CitySwift, Andy Foster, Deputy Commercial Director for National Express West Midlands, stated: “We decided to roll out the CitySwift platform across our entire network to help network planners and schedulers respond more quickly to changes in demand. CitySwift will help us optimise our network for the short-, medium- and long-term, so we can deliver the best and safest possible service for our customers”.
CitySwift’s latest solution, a passenger-facing bus capacity checker using AI predictions, works like Google Maps but with the added feature that passengers are able to see how busy their bus is going to be up to two weeks in advance of travelling. It generates dynamic predictions of bus loadings to inform passengers’ journey choices whilst capacities are restricted and as new travel patterns emerge. Passengers access a colour-coded timetable of bus routes, which shows which buses are likely to be busy or have space, on a stop-by-stop basis. This technology has recently been deployed across Go-Ahead Group’s entire bus operation in the UK via When2Travel.co, with other bus operators showing interest in rapidly deploying the solution to encourage passengers back onto the bus.
On When2Travel, Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of Go North East, said: “What CitySwift have delivered is a more detailed and comprehensive solution than I had envisaged. I think it could be the most powerful use of big data yet in terms of aiding local bus networks and customer service. That’s a bold statement, but we are really excited about it.”
Brian O’Rourke, CitySwift Co-Founder and CEO, also commented: “One thing we’ve come to learn through COVID-19 is just how important data is – whether for businesses trying to operate, governments trying to reopen or individuals trying to understand this pandemic. This has been even more evident for public transport companies as they monitored the effects of lockdown restrictions on their networks and model and plan for future scenarios as restrictions have begun to ease. The CitySwift platform has been leveraged to enable our clients and their passengers to make informed, data-driven decisions as they navigate the road to recovery in these ever-changing times”.