Investing in IP Networks for Public Transport Vehicles: Key Considerations for Operators

15 May, 2023

Modern IP networks offer public transport authorities and operators an opportunity to overcome the limitations of traditional silo systems in their vehicles. This article highlights their advantages, key considerations for operators, and outlines the implementation roadmap.

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The Role of Modern IP Networks for Improving Public Transport

As digitalization takes hold and emissions-reduction goals become more prominent, public transport authorities and operators seek technology solutions to attract more passengers. For decades, silo architectures have dominated public transport vehicle systems, but modern IP networks are increasingly at the forefront of the industry, providing real-time visibility and control over the network.

Collecting data from the vehicle allows companies to optimize both internal operations and external passenger services, including monitoring vehicle performance, tracking passenger movements, and providing real-time information. The use of live video surveillance cameras, made possible by modern IP networks, helps to improve the efficiency and safety of the vehicle. Additionally, IP networks are highly scalable, enabling operators to adapt to future technological advancements and evolving passenger needs. Last but not least, the shortage of personnel and generational change within companies pose major challenges for maintaining outdated silo systems, further driving the transition to IP networks.

What to Consider Before Investing in a Digital IP Network  

Investing in modern IP networks is a strategic decision for public transport operators looking to improve their services and remain competitive. However, there are several key considerations that operators should take into account before making such an investment. 

  1. Technical Requirements: Implementing IP networks requires a strong technical infrastructure and expertise. This includes a robust network design, reliable hardware, and adequate bandwidth. Pay special attention to compatibility, which in public transport is guaranteed by the ITxPT standardization.
  2. Security and Privacy: Implementing security measures and protocols to protect the network and the data passing through it is crucial for transit vehicle operators.
    Read also: Cyber Security in Public Transport Vehicle Networks
  3. Staff Training and Support: Transitioning to IP networks might require staff training and support. Operators must ensure that their technical teams have the necessary skills and knowledge to create, manage and maintain these networks.  

Implementation Roadmap: Steps to Successfully Implement IP Networks in Buses and Trams 

Identification of the right IP network solution for public transport vehicles 

Ethernet switches are a crucial component in the IP network architecture. In the first place, they ensure reliable communication between all on-board devices in public transport vehicles. To identify the right IP network solution for public transport vehicles, it is also important to consider factors such as the network’s scalability, interoperability, ease of deployment and maintenance, real-time analytics and monitoring. Conducting thorough research, evaluating different solutions, and working with experienced vendors can help select the right Ethernet switch for public transport. 

Check out also these resources:

>> IP Network for Public Transport Bus in 7 Steps 

>> The Perfect IP Network Design for Trams 

Development of a clear implementation plan 

Once the right IP network solution has been identified, it’s essential to develop a clear implementation plan. This plan should outline the network’s architecture, design, and deployment strategy, as well as the timeline for each phase of the project. The plan should also address key implementation considerations such as cost, resource allocation, training, and maintenance. Additionally, conducting thorough testing and monitoring as part of a pilot project during the implementation phase can help identify and address any possible issues. 

Rollout of IP networks for public transport vehicles 

Once the concept is developed, the rollout process begins, and all components to be installed must be ready on time. The installation team should be trained, and the vehicles should be prepared for installation in the depot or workshop according to the schedule. In addition to mechanical assembly and cabling of the components, the network infrastructure must also be put into operation, and its function tested by other participants. 

Operation of vehicle IP networks 

During the regular line operation all IP devices are used to their full functional extent, and the network infrastructure is generally maintenance-free. In the event of a fault, components are replaced with new ones. If the network needs to be expanded, the software of the Ethernet switches can be updated remotely, so that operators can easily benefit from new features developed by the supplier. 

From network design to operation, as a provider of Ethernet switches for public transport, TRONTEQ offers advice and support to transit companies and their technicians. Furthermore, ROQSTAR Ethernet switches are designed with intelligent features that simplify their configuration and maintenance process.   

Demo: Remote Management for Ethernet Switches in Public Transport with ROQSTAR Label Manager 

Beyond the Network: Leveraging IP Networks to Enhance Public Transit Business and Society 

Modern IP network architecture can be a powerful tool for public transit authorities and operators to improve public transportation services and make them more attractive to commuters. IP networks offer various benefits that can positively impact the public transit business and society. Some of these are: 

  • Competitive ticketing: To make public transport more convenient and attractive, competitive fairs and an integrated ticketing system can be implemented. This system allows passengers to use a single ticket for different modes of transport, such as buses, trains, and ferries. This can save passengers time and money and encourage them to use public transport more often. 
  • Frequent and reliable services: Passengers are more likely to use public transport if the services are frequent and reliable. Public transport operators can schedule services at regular intervals and provide real-time information about delays, disruptions, and alternative routes. 
  • Better connectivity: Passengers can be encouraged to use public transport if they can stay connected to the internet while traveling. Public transport operators can provide on-board Wi-fi and charging points for passengers. 
  • Collaborating with other stakeholders: Public Transport authorities and operators can collaborate with other stakeholders such as local businesses and government agencies to promote the use of public transport. For example, shuttle services can be introduced to popular tourist destinations, or discounted fares can be offered to employees of local businesses. 

Conclusion: Transitioning to IP Networks Improves Transit Operations and Passenger Experience 

In summary, transitioning from legacy silo networks to IP networks can offer substantial benefits for public transport operators. With the right network solution in place, public transport operators can improve their operations and enhance passenger experience. It is important for public transport operators to consider this transition and work with experienced vendors to select the right Ethernet switch and ensure successful implementation. 

Therefore, we encourage all public transport operators to take action and invest in IP networks to keep up with the evolving technological landscape and provide the best possible service to their passengers. 

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Our products are fundamental for the digitalization in public transport. ROQSTAR M12 Ethernet Switches provide the network infrastructure for e-ticketing, passenger counting systems (PCS), dynamic passenger information (DPI) and closed-circuit television (CCTV).


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