Improve Agency Efficiency – Metro Magazine Article

Moving to the Cloud to Improve Agency Efficiency, Customer Experience
Posted on February 15, 2018 by Alex Roman, Managing Editor, Metro Magazine

Connexionz offers an array of hardware and software solutions, including onboard annunciation, real-time signage, CAD/AVL, and real-time passenger information systems. After 20 years of experience on large transportation projects internationally, the company enhanced their U.S. operations and support by opening a west coast service office in Valencia, Calif. — a necessary step to supporting the growing client base across the West coast. Over the last few years, Connexionz has been focused on bringing their tried and tested applications to medium-sized operations in the U.S.

“Arrival predictions provided by companies like Connexionz are now used to feed a lot of open source applications for both the public and other technology partners, so if you’re going to connect your ITS system to Google Real Time, a custom iOs or Android App, or any of the other third-party system, you better hope its super accurate,” says Brian Garrett, U.S. director of west coast sales for Connexionz. “We’re proud to boast a system at Connexionz, which has been fine-tuned enough over the years to have a distinct level of confidence in our prediction. It helps that our system was road-tested on some of the largest and detailed schedules in the world. This real world experience has served us well with more medium-sized agencies who have less demanding schedules, rosters, and run-cuts.”

Recognizing that not all passengers have a smartphone, the company has introduced a solar-powered digital signage product that provides real-time bus arrival information at the bus stop. The BusFinder™ is the latest version of a bus stop sign created for cost effectiveness and rider inclusivity and now with the solar version — efficiency and sustainability.

“In many cases in most U.S. communities, these consistent riders don’t have smartphones and it is important to not lose sight of this market,” Garrett explains. “Things have gotten really exciting lately with a lot of different rider tools available for agencies to invest in, but we have to remember the foundation of what we do is serve people who are transit dependent, and in that case, we can’t assume that all of the riding public has access to the latest and greatest tech, as much as we wish it were true.”

Because Connexionz has a host of communications options available, including 450 MHz radio, cellular, and LTE, the solar real-time signage can be implemented anywhere, including rural areas like King’s County, California — per a more recent installation. Garrett adds that not only do the signs have the ability to provide stop-based arrival information in a way that may have not been available before in those areas, but the inclusive nature of the signs can help build brand, as well as public transit awareness.

“In Pasadena, Calif., for instance, the bus signage actually started to pique the interest of people who are driving down the street and saw these interesting, blue boxes” he says. “According to the agency, people would end up checking out the E-Ink Real-Time arrival signs and giving the transit system a try, and in the process, they realize it made doing so much easier than they assumed.”

Connexionz’ digital signage product is compatible with any ITS system through its open sourced architecture, providing next bus arrival information for up to 12 routes, and is cost-effective to install since it does not require access to power or infrastructure and can be easily pole mounted. There are a number of custom options available with BusFinder™ implementation including custom splash screens, importing arrivals from partner agencies, and the company is just beginning to explore interactivity through Bluetooth and partnerships with companies providing other solar products like UrbanSolar with their lighting solution.

The company also recently landed the iTransitNW contract, which will initially tie together seven transit agencies in Washington State with real-time bus arrival information, with the potential to scale and link up to 18 separate transport operators across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

“Valley Transit made the initial investment and these other regional rural agencies are able to purchase off of this contract and participate in these regional real-time systems, and it’s really the same premise as the goal of bus-finder products, which is to build a bit more excitement about getting around — and include everyone we can in the process.”


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