27 Mar 2017

PSItraffic - Integrating passenger information and train management for Swiss transport companies

Extract from Signa+Draht, edition March 2017

Whether leisure, commuter traffic or freight transport: More than ever, transport companies need to ensure route utilisation, efficient operations and a seamless information system for passengers. In particular, public companies suffer from steadily growing cost pressure, but at the same time are required to meet the expectations customers place on a modern transport company. They can only overcome this contradiction if their processes are optimally positioned and when daily operations are based on a modern passenger information concept. The three well-known Swiss transport companies, Rhätische Bahn, Matterhorn Gotthardbahn and Aare Seeland mobil have succeeded in this by using a modular train management system. This has been invaluable for providing passenger information and for the planning and control of train and bus traffic.

Initial situation
Together, the routes of these three transport companies cover large parts of Switzerland. They connect both commuter routes and regions with unique, breathtaking landscapes, which are therefore particularly attractive for tourism.

Transport company employees have their hands full ensuring that everything functions smoothly. Behind this service, which is often taken for granted by passengers, is a considerable administrative and logistical effort, which binds resources. As a result, all three companies opted for a new passenger information system to support their dispatchers in their daily work – particularly to provide them with current data and to make this available to passengers in a prepared form.

In each case, the choice was made for the train or bus management system (PSItraffic/TMS, PSItraffic/AVMS) from PSI Transcom GmbH, which is based on the platform PSItraffic and includes modules such as vehicle tracking, conflict detection, dispatching, passenger information and ensuring connections, and which can be configured individually. ib datentechnik GmbH from Constance was responsible providing the required hardware.

The Rhätische Bahn – A riding experience with tradition
With its unique mountain ranges, its UNESCO World Heritage status, the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express (Image 1), the Rhätische Bahn – the largest Swiss alpine railway – has been well-known since 1889 for providing a unique rail experience through Graubünden.  The company now provides service on a 384 kilometre network that leads directly through the high mountains of Switzerland. Each year, approximately 1,500 employees ensure the transport of more than two million commuters, eight million tourists and 550,000 tons of goods.

In order to increase the attractiveness of the offering for passengers, those responsible decided to replace the analogue split-flap displays with a digital passenger information system, which ensures passengers are informed seamlessly and reliably, supports dispatchers in their day-to-day work and contributes to reliable network traffic. In addition to the usual standard functions, a number of special requirements needed to be implemented for passenger information. These included both the integration of additional tourism services and ensuring the suitability of the equipment for the extreme weather conditions in the Swiss Alps. Furthermore, passenger information systems today are now an integral part of a transport company’s service – especially when used by tourists unfamiliar with the area. [...]