Nomad Digital is working with rail operator FirstGroup, TTG Transportation Technology and Airbus on an innovative pilot to provide a real-time GPS train locator, called ‘GPS Gateway’. Nomad has supported the development of real-time train location data sources that can be aggregated to provide the most accurate train positioning at any given time. This pilot selects the best location source at any given time which is then accessible to end-user systems. The data has the potential to support passenger apps, operator communications and third-party content as it will be available in a common format.
Nomad’s connectivity solution provides the infrastructure over which the GPS data feeds can be transmitted and works both independently and in conjunction with the current operator’s solution to determine the most relevant GPS feed where there are multiple GPS devices on a single train.
“We have found the experience both informative and collaborative and our view is that the benefits are numerous – to give operators greater confidence of a train’s location which leads to improved passenger information, and to enable greater efficiency of fleets,” Kevin Hollingworth, Nomad Digital’s Head of R&D said.
Improved explanation of reasons for journey disruption and real-time evidence of location and next-stop distance will ensure passengers have a better understanding of how disruptions affect their journey and what is being done to mitigate them.
Real-time GPS location allows control staff to know exactly where the train is, while visibility of exact location of services allows operators to manage and resume normal timetabling quickly. The data provided also allows operators’ maintenance and engineering teams to see where the train routinely speeds up and slows down on the track, which can feed into driver advisory strategies and also more efficient route planning.
The background to this project is that UK’s Rail Safety and Standards Board initiated a competition ‘TOC 15’, which challenged train operators and suppliers to work together to develop new and innovative ways to improve performance and reliability on the railway, while also improving the passenger experience. The trial ran for a month on a FirstGroup fleet, however the solution will be left in place for 12 months providing the opportunity to create a database of historical GPS data, for analysis and reporting purposes.
“The precise pilot findings should start to materialise soon, with research and outcomes to be shared with the industry,” Nomad says.