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Open platforms for transport saves millions for bus companies

Posted: 29 April 2016 | FourC AS | No comments yet

ICT platforms are becoming increasingly popular for transport companies and public transport authorities…

Open platforms for transport saves millions for bus companies

ICT platforms are becoming increasingly popular for transport companies and public transport authorities. FourC have calculated that such organisations can save literally millions of euros by taking new and innovative service platforms into use, instead of using old-fashioned, lock-in systems.

Open platforms for transport saves millions for bus companiesBuses and other transport vehicles are being loaded with advanced ICT functions as a result of requirements and expectations from PTAs and passengers. The total cost of such systems has exploded the later years as more and more separate systems are added, ultimately adding to the cost of travel for the passengers.

“Bus companies are spending typically up to 10% of the cost of the bus itself for a long list of ICT systems. Unfortunately, the public tender process regime supports the old-fashioned method of purchasing separate, custom systems which actually have a huge lock-in effect in the long term. It does not need to be this way. The business must take a stand against excessive costs and be open to better delivery and purchase models such as the software-as-a-service model. You do not need 10 computers, 10 SIM cards and a lot of specialised hardware in the bus to provide all this functionality”, says Tor Rune Skoglund, CEO of FourC AS.

FourC have made rough estimates of purchase costs for typical ICT systems in a public transport vehicle:

System

Typical purchase cost

Ticketing

€4000

Passenger counting

€4000

Wi-fi for passengers

€1000

Traffic light priority

€1000

Video surveillance

€3000

Infotainment

€2000

AVL/fleet management

€2000

Ecodriving/FMS

€1000

Passenger real time info

€2000

Total

€20000

If we also add a modest cost for the installation of each system, e.g. €300 per system, this adds up to a staggering €22700 per vehicle!

In addition to purchase and installation costs, there are maintenance and staff training costs for the various systems, time costs spent by the driver to log in to each system, communication and backend costs, etc. When these are added, the total costs come to significantly more than €22700.

By using open systems, standardised hardware and interfaces, and an open and modern service platform that can host all these services, a moderate estimate for the hardware and installation costs comes to approximately €6000. This is a saving of €16700 per vehicle, just in hardware and installation costs. A typical bus company with 500 buses can save a whopping 8.35 million euros just by adopting the modern software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

FourC’s Cities in Motion Service Platform offers all the features needed to manage, monitor, deploy and interface with all the services in the vehicle. Because of FourC’s technology advantage, platform services can be written in any language using any Linux distribution. Additionally, Android apps, and Docker and OSGi applications can be easily and securely combined on the same standard hardware, with no need to adapt to a strict platform API. Due to the ease of integration, several companies have already provided or are working on providing innovative, new services that can be deployed over the air to any vehicle.

FourC is currently running pilots with local PTAs and bus companies who have acknowledged the need to keep up-to-date on the buses’ ICT systems and understood the potential to save huge amounts by avoiding old-fashioned, lock-in systems with long contracts.

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