July 16, 2021

Beacons drive accessible public transport forward

News from the lab

Current procedures for bringing the right assistance to public transport passengers can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Imagine a world in which a digital travel assistant was always available to guide passengers and guarantee a comfortable journey. “This future is closer than you think – thanks to Bluetooth Low-Energy beacons,” says Steven Lauwereins, research lead at Televic GSP.

 

Training beacons to guide the way

In a brand-new research project, Steven Lauwereins and his team are investigating how beacons on trains can significantly improve the comfort and experiences of train passengers.

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What are beacons?

Beacons are small radio transmitters that communicate using Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) technology and are capable of locating passengers with extremely high accuracy. They can also be used to trigger a specific action that is location dependent.

 

Centralized communication based on real-time information

This easy-to-use solution facilitates the selection of the exact vehicles to be targeted based on real-time information. Free your staff from taking on-board PIS-related actions while offering a superior passenger experience by handling information delivery in a centralized, automated way.

The combination of audio and visual messages via a single system ensures information accessibility to the broadest-possible audience. Messages can be broadcast to a subset of the vehicle fleet through one action, boosting efficiency by avoiding the need to contact individual staff members operating a variety of journeys.

Easily create announcements and push them via a user interface or integrations with our secure APIs – enabling full interoperability with your existing announcement systems.

mobile travel assistant accessibility public transport beacons Passengers can easily check if they are on the right train, find their desired coach, their reserved seat, the toilets, or the bistro.

The amount of data you need to transfer to a passenger’s smartphone is extremely small, which is why BLE-compatible beacons are so valuable in these contexts. They are extremely functional without draining your battery.

Steven Lauwereins
Research lead

Travel assistant functionalities

  • Personalized passenger information, including boarding and connections
  • Wayfinding (seats, toilets, bistro, etc.)
  • Passenger flow analytics
  • Ticket control
  • Service calls
  • Luggage tracking
mobile travel assistant accessibility public transport beacons Combined with an automatic passenger counting system, passengers are guided to a coach with vacant seats.

A combined industry-academic effort

This research project gathers university research group and industry players with different specialisations. Their shared goal is to develop the first high-resolution passenger localization system for rail vehicles by 2024, with research outcomes fueling the creation of a passenger information system.