Real-time information on board older trams
Wednesday 14 December 2016
Three quarters of Melbourne's trams will be fitted with a real-time passenger information system to help passengers find their way on the world's largest tram network.
Yarra Trams and Public Transport Victoria have begun a trial to test the system in live conditions on board A-Class trams, with development continuing on a system for C-Class trams.
The system will make the tram network more accessible to passengers with vision or hearing impairments, and for customers who are unfamiliar with the route.
Once the system has successfully been installed on all 110 A and C-Class trams, three quarters of Melbourne's trams will have automated passenger information.
The system is pre-programmed with tram routes and stop locations, which tram drivers access via their console at the start of the trip.
GPS is used to determine the tram's location on the route and automatically play the announcement. Regular diversion routes are also pre-programmed in case of road traffic incidents.
As the tram approaches the next stop the audio system will announce the next stop name and number, the route destination, connections with other routes and transport modes and which side of the tram the doors will open.
Tram passengers already receive real-time information system through displays and remote public address speakers at major stops, solar-powered mini displays at kerbside stops, tramTRACKER screens at train stations and social media operated from Yarra Trams' operations centre.
Yarra Trams CEO Nicolas Gindt said: "Real-time information helps passengers to make informed choices and ensures a positive experience when travelling.
"We're proud to partner with PTV to deliver audio and visual information that makes the tram network more inclusive."
PTV CEO, Jeroen Weimar said that small improvements can have a big impact on the day to day lives of passengers.
"An accessible tram network is about more than just accessible stops, it's about understanding the whole journey and how we can make it easier for those with accessibility requirements to navigate," Mr Weimar said.
The trial on A-Class trams is expected to last until February 2017 with installation to begin by mid-year. The trial on C-Class trams is due to begin in the second half of 2017.