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Yarra Trams is trialling the use of beacon technology as a
potential tool to help plan future tram services.
The trial aims to use non-identifiable data to understand how
many people use specific tram stops or trams, to better understand
the usage patterns of the network.
Beacons are widely used in cities across the world to gather
information in a vast array of industries including retail,
hospitality, tourism, healthcare and social enterprise.
In London, beacons help to provide digital wayfinding for vision
impaired passengers, while in The Netherlands they help the public
transport operator send passenger information.
Information gathered through the beacon trial could be added to
existing public transport data to give a fuller picture of how
people use the tram network.
The trial on Route 5 between Malvern and Melbourne University
shows an average journey time of 17 minutes and an average journey
length of seven stops.
Network planning is critical to ensuring that Melbourne's future
tram services meet the needs of a growing city.
Yarra Trams is exploring ways of using new technology to improve
services, and beacons are one option that we are trialling.
The data from beacons looks like blobs on a map but the story it
tells can lead to more informed decisions about the future of the
tram network in Melbourne.
Tens of thousands of organisations in Australia and worldwide
use beacons and the trial aims to help provide a better service for
In Melbourne, the project to widen the Bolte Bridge and Westgate
Freeway will see VicRoads and Transurban use Bluetooth technology
to track journey times and provide real-time advice to motorists
about their travel options.
How beacons work
Beacons transmit signals, not content, which allow another
device to determine its proximity to the beacon.
An app installed on a mobile device can be configured to be
notified when the device nears a specific beacon, allowing
non-identifiable geographic data to be created.
Yarra Trams has included the option for tram passengers to
switch off the ability for the tramTRACKER app to 'receive' the