February 10, 2022
Did you know that reliable real-time information is the number one thing transit riders list when they’re asked what would get them to ride transit more often? The importance of reliable predictions is why we started Swiftly, and we’re proud to provide the most reliable real-time information in the industry.
Today we’re happy to announce AVAS Connector, a new Swiftly partnership that brings our best-in-class real-time passenger information to announcements onboard your vehicle. The same information your passengers can already access from Transit, dynamic bus stop signs, and SMS messages will now be available via onboard Automated Voice Announcement & Signage (“AVAS”).
Swiftly’s AVAS Connector is a full solution for audio and visual onboard announcements that meets ADA requirements, provides a positive passenger experience, and gives agencies more flexibility by separating onboard announcements from a full CAD/AVL system.
Way Sine provides agencies with a small computer that delivers voice announcements based on the data from Swiftly’s (or any other) GTFS & GTFS-rt feed. The computer is connected to the vehicle's power, cellular router, ignition, and speaker system. It can also optionally connect to the stop requested signal, lift requested signal, door sensors, enabling the system to announce the corresponding events as well. Way Sine also provides interior LED signs that connect to the computer to provide passenger information visually.
The Way Sine computer receives GPS location from the cellular router and caches the data it needs from GTFS and GTFS-rt, so it can operate correctly even if the internet is intermittent. Agency staff can configure periodic custom announcements using Way Sine’s online dashboard, and customize stop pronunciations in their GTFS management solution.
Reliable onboard announcements are helpful for all riders but are particularly critical for hearing- and sight-impaired riders. For many of these riders, onboard announcements are the only way to know when it’s time to disembark. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also requires that agencies announce information to passengers about upcoming stops, transfer points, and other important updates. Lack of announcements can push riders with disabilities to paratransit, and agencies can face fines or litigation if they are not in compliance with ADA.
Historically, Automatic Voice Announcement and Signage (AVAS) systems have been connected to expensive, hard to maintain, and interdependent CAD/AVL systems, putting this technology out of reach for many smaller transit agencies. Even agencies that can afford CAD/AVL systems are hamstrung by systems that require time consuming maintenance like bringing a thumb drive out to each vehicle whenever there’s a change to the schedule. In the absence of such systems, agencies rely on operators to call out the next stop, but this task often falls through the cracks as operators are focused on the many competing priorities of driving a bus. This experience is frustrating to operators and passengers, and opens transit agencies up to liability.
Swiftly AVAS Connector provides fully automated announcements, allowing drivers to focus on driving while offering riders clear updates of what’s next along their route. And as a part of Swiftly’s Metronome product line, AVAS Connector helps break free of the hardware-centric transit tools most agencies are accustomed to using. For agencies with CAD/AVL systems, AVAS Connector provides a future-proof solution to easily deliver announcements onboard that update in real-time, over-the-air. For agencies without CAD/AVL systems, AVAS Connector provides an opportunity to deliver a standalone AVAS system to passengers, especially those that need it most.
See how Swiftly can improve service reliability, passenger information, and operational efficiency at your agency with an in-depth demo.