Faster information for emergency bus services

Article: Faster information for emergency bus services

Whenever an emergency bus service is deployed, providing people with the relevant information becomes vitally important. Passengers want the details of departure times and stops, while drivers need the timetable and information about the precise route as quickly as possible. A new DB app is designed to keep people in the loop.

Developed by DB Systel and DB Regio, the app “Busnotverkehr digital” is currently being piloted during construction work on the route connecting Bremerhaven-Lehe-Bremen in the Expresskreuz Bremen at weekends until the end of September. 

The challenge is to ensure that the app can provide drivers with comprehensive information in real time and that passengers can use it to find out about stops as well as arrival and departure times.

Developed as part of a low-cost project, the app uses GPS to collect buses' route-related data, and it transmits a vehicle's current position to the operations centre. Similarly, if drivers encounter a problem on the route, such as an accident, they can report its location by clicking on the map function and provide details about the resulting changes to their route. This provides dispatchers with real-time information about the buses currently in operation, enabling them to plan arrival times better and supply the test passengers with up-to-date information. 

After the test phase, agile development will continue on the basis of the feedback provided by passengers, operations centre staff and drivers. Our goal is to use the app for unscheduled emergency bus services: in the event of unforeseen disruptions and the ad-hoc use of buses to replace trains for several days, the app will provide everyone affected with transparent solutions at the touch of a button. This way, it will "plug the gap", as unexpected disruptions cause confusion and uncertainty in a host of different ways, and raise satisfaction levels for employees and customers alike.

Looking further ahead, we are also planning to include directions for indoors, so that passengers can find their way around unfamiliar stations and locate the bus stop they need to continue their journeys on a rail replacement service. Another ground-breaking incident management solution is already in the pipeline, one that enables travellers to check if they can still make a connection during a journey. All of these innovations are designed with the goal of minimising the workload involved in managing transport operations, reducing the likelihood of mistaken information and delivering smooth-flowing services by providing staff and customers with targeted Information.