Being Right On Time Is Possible: Real-time Passenger Information, by Modeshift

Being Right On Time Is Possible: Real-time Passenger Information, by Modeshift

The wait is over. The wait at the bus stop, that is. With Modeshift’s RTPI system, riders can now access public transit schedules at their fingertips – via their smartphones, or on the go – at bus shelters and even inside the vehicles. How do we do that? Find out more about our RTPI system below!

In this article…

What is RTPI?

Real-time Passenger Information (RTPI) is not a new technology. It’s already being used extensively for public transit services to supply riders with accurate information about arrival and departure times, trip duration, location, and more. RTPI is based on Automatic Vehicle Location, another vital segment of our system, and relies on data from GPS transmitters onboard the vehicles.

Modeshift’s RTPI system supplies data in GTFS and GTFS-RT format, and is compatible with most types of information displays in use – smartphone apps, digital signage at bus shelters, onboard information panes, and other. This helps riders plan their day better, and helps them avoid unnecessarily long waits at bus stops.

Why is RTPI so important in the 21st century?

Do you remember the times when, if you want to get a ride somewhere, you go to the bus shelter and wait for an unspecified amount of time for the bus to arrive? Or, if you were lucky, you would have a timetable at your disposal – even though it was at best an approximation of the arrival time. That wasn’t that long ago.

Now, with public transit being part of so many people’s lives, running late is a common source of anxiety and frustration, especially in big cities or in rural areas with scarce public transit service available. To top it off, waiting at bus shelters in extreme temperature conditions is not uncommon.

All of these factors contribute to an understandable lack of public transit enthusiasm in people’s hearts. This translates to more personal vehicles on the road, creating congestion which in turn makes the job of running on time almost impossible for public transit itself. Not to mention the contribution to pollution and stress.

We can help fix this.

Here’s how RTPI works

First, you will need a constant stream of location data for each vehicle – this is provided by an AVL system (also available as part of the Modeshift platform). It can be installed easily and set to transmit location at any desired time interval.

Then, the back end of our system processes the information in real time and pushes it in GTFS/GTFS-RT format to the RTPI system and all the outlets connected to it.

Each rider has at their disposal a number of options on how to get the real-time information:
– Via their smartphone, in the dedicated mobile application (or 3rd party apps), via text message, or from a QR at the bus shelter
– Via a web portal on their phones or computers
– Via an information pane at the bus shelter

With these tools, riders can calculate and plan the time they need to get to the bus shelter and the time they will wait there – which frees up precious time for other activities. What’s more, RTPI gives them a close estimate of the trip duration, and the arrival time at their destination.

To put it in a nutshell, Modeshift’s RTPI takes all the guesswork out of the public transit experience, helping riders save time and be on time, always. It’s also one of the key factors to consider when upgrading to a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) ecosystem. Combined with Modeshift’s Fare Collection product, RTPI can easily help you win new riders. Because people like things that work.