AVL data is a critical part of how Swiftly operates. It allows us to record the locations, assignments, and operators of the vehicles in our customer agencies’ systems, among other critical information.
Because AVL system data is so important to the Swiftly platform, quickly diagnosing and resolving issues with AVL feeds is essential to our customers. Unfortunately, AVL systems are owned and operated by other vendors, so we can’t directly monitor AVL performance.
We previously launched the Admin Panel, with two tabs, GTFS and SMS & Voice, to help with similar issues in those areas. We’re now launching a third tab, titled “AVL,” for monitoring and diagnosing issues with AVL feeds.
The new AVL Tab allows Swiftly staff or customers to track the health of their AVL feeds:
Summary statistics on AVL feeds
Reporting Rates Chart
If you don’t see Admin Panel when you log into Swiftly, talk to your CSM to gain access.
The bulk of Onboard App is now self-updating over the air. Some updates still require updating through the Play Store, so we still recommend that agencies enable auto-updating in the Play store settings. However, most app improvements will become available without agency action. These updates only happen when the app is idle (i.e. when an operator is not logged in).
Users can now view upcoming blocks in the List View of Live Operations by using the Upcoming Trips toggle in the Filter Panel. When toggled on, the title of the List View Card will now say “Active and Upcoming Trips”.
We’re excited to announce that Detours now available in the Service Adjustments module. Detours allows agency staff to enact detours right in the Swiftly Dashboard, offering riders, staff, and operators the most up-to-date information possible when detours are put in effect.
With Detours, users simply draw a new route alignment right in the Service Adjustments module, and Swiftly automatically determines which portions of the route are affected, including which stops need to be closed. Updated real-time information then flows immediately to riders and agency staff via whatever apps your agency uses. Read more here.
We’re also pleased to announce Maps in Onboard App, which adds to Onboard App an map for operators to use during their shifts. With Maps in Onboard App, operators can see their location on the route in real time, as well as their upcoming turns at a glance. After logging into Swiftly’s Onboard App, an operator can simply tap the Map button to show the map, route, timepoints, and real-time position of the bus. In the Map view, schedule or headway adherence is still visible, but minimized. This lets operators focus on safety while also having a lightweight check on their timing. Read more here.
The Filter Panel within Live Operations now lists all blocks, including upcoming ones. Users can select or search for future blocks to see information about the block, including its start and end time and the scheduled number of trips, and cancel service accordingly.
Users can now click on any adjustment in the Action Log to get additional information about them in real time.
Users who are familiar with different date formats, such as DD/MM/YYYY, will automatically see them based on preferences configured in their browser or operating system.
We’re excited to announce that our integration with Remix is now live. The integration provides visualizations of Swiftly’s Speed Map, including historical bus speeds and dwell times, within the Remix planning platform. Remix fetches the data from Swiftly’s APIs, providing users access to data as recent as yesterday, as well as offering historic data from any date range or time of day of interest. For more info, read about the integration here.
In the GTFS History table, you now have visibility into the earliest and latest service dates present within a GTFS file. This added detail will help when investigating issues that may arise as the result of errors in GTFS creation or delays in providing an agency's GTFS file to Swiftly. For an overview of Admin Panel, read our help center article here.
Onboard App now reports speed and direction of travel to Swiftly's transit data platform. With more data on the direction of travel, agency staff can see if a vehicle is inbound or outbound at a glance in Live Operations and GPS Playback. This data also improves the accuracy of Real-Time Passenger Information. Displaying speed in Live Operations and GPS Playback helps agency staff to spot unsafe driving and check whether a stop was served.
Onboard App is now available in the Play Store as a native Android app. Today, you’ll find the exact same features as the browser-based version but some upcoming features - like Maps - will only be available in the Play Store version. If you’re an Onboard App customer, download the app here. If you’re new to Onboard App or Swiftly reach out to your Customer Success Manager to get started.
This month we launched our new Admin Panel module, which empowers Swiftly users to view and directly manage their GTFS ingestion. Users can now upload new GTFS files, troubleshoot GTFS issues, and change the cadence of uploads. This means faster uploads, quicker bug fixes, and a more seamless workflow overall.
The Admin Panel also provides visibility into SMS & Voice usage for customers who want to provide the most accurate real-time passenger information, including any alerts that might be impacting service, to customers as a service in addition to making it available in rider-facing smartphone applications.
Now, Onboard App can be configured to display trips in a few different ways during log-in. This enables agencies to choose which display will be most familiar to their operators. Your agency can choose to use first stop or the end destination to identify the trip. Similarly, decide whether to show or hide Trip ID for operators. Swiftly makes logging into Onboard App easy for operators, so they can focus on providing great service to passengers.
To improve the quality of our data, Swiftly is rolling out changes to better account for service dates as distinct from calendar dates. Service dates allow for trips that run after midnight to be considered a part of the prior day’s service. Starting with the On-Time Performance CSV download functionality, newer data will now include an additional column for the service date instead of scheduled or actual calendar dates. Date filters will also be based on service dates instead of calendar dates.
Swiftly's GTFS-realtime TripUpdates API now supports new experimental v3 fields that are a part of the proposed GTFS-ServiceChanges specification to improve real-time information for added service.
Service Adjustments allows operations staff to make the most common ad hoc service changes -- including trip cancelations, trip additions, stop closures, and changes to departure times -- right in the Swiftly Dashboard. Simply click on a vehicle running service that needs adjustment, and a pop-up will appear to make the relevant changes to service.
Once these changes are made, Swiftly automatically and immediately carries the updated service information to passenger apps like Transit, Google Maps, and dynamic bus stop signage so that riders see the updates in real time. Operations staff will also see up-to-date information in Swiftly’s Live Operations module, and for agencies that use the Swiftly Onboard App, changes flow instantly to vehicle operators, who can then execute the service changes in real time.
Link to February 2021 release notes
When changes to service occur it’s essential that everyone at your agency has the same, reliable information. Rider Alerts enables agencies to easily communicate these changes to passengers. Now, Rider Alerts in Live Operations gives customer service and operations teams access to the same information so they can effectively manage service and keep passengers informed.
With Rider Alerts in Live Operations, you will now see published alerts when you click on impacted vehicles, stops, and blocks. If you have access to the Rider Alerts module to manage alerts, you can easily make edits to Rider Alerts from Live Operations by clicking “Modify Rider Alerts” to open the alert editing form in a new tab.
Link to January 2021 release notes
Agencies that have Onboard App can now require their operators to enter their ID when they log in. This Operator ID information will then identify the trip as being driven by a particular operator. Swiftly can include this information in Live Operations, GPS Playback, Operator Reports, and elsewhere throughout the Swiftly system.
Operator information in Live Operations. When a vehicle is running early or late, dispatchers can see who’s driving that bus and easily contact the driver when calling to offer instructions to help.
Operator information in GPS Playback. Users will be able to see who is driving each vehicle in GPS Playback. This is part of the data associated with each trip, so there’s no need to consult dispatch logs outside of Swiftly. As a result, people using GPS Playback to investigate a collision or other incident will have a much easier time conducting their investigation because they’ll know which operator was driving the bus during the incident.
Access to Operator Reports. With Operator Reports, agencies can see on-time performance for every operator and understand trip-by-trip performance, improving performance and morale.
When creating a Rider Alert, you can now search by Stop ID in addition to route to find the affected routes and stops. This helps you quickly enter multiple stops when you already know the corresponding IDs, such as for a complex detour.
Link to December release notes
This month we added the ability to edit and duplicate existing Rider Alerts to make rapidly communicating changes to service even more intuitive and streamlined. Users can quickly reuse or build off of previously created alerts, so common alerts or recurring events, can be published in a few clicks. When the contents of published alerts change, such as a water main breakage causing expanded impact on service, users can now easily modify them to reflect the most up-to-date information.
We made changes to how we determine trip patterns and incorporate historical observations, so that more trips can be included when analyzing running times in Swiftly or exploring suggested run-times. With more data, you can more accurately assess and update your schedules to deliver a better rider experience.
Link to November release notes
For vehicle operators, learning and navigating their daily routes is a prerequisite for delivering reliable service to passengers. Driving safely requires full attention even in the best of times. Now, COVID-19 has brought new challenges for operators like widespread service changes, new safety protocols, and operator shortages, all of which mean operators are more likely to be driving unfamiliar routes.
Swiftly’s Onboard App brings operators just the information they need to provide great service. The new Upcoming Timepoints setting in Onboard App displays the next few timepoints to provide operators situational awareness at a glance, further reducing the need to reference a paper paddle.
Upcoming Timepoints is now available to Onboard App customers. No software update is needed, just navigate to Settings > Show Upcoming Timepoints. The setting follows the Onboard App design goal of being intentionally lightweight, only providing operators with the information they need most so they can focus on what matters most -- safely driving their route.
In Live Operations, you can search for vehicles in a variety of ways, including by the ID of its assigned block. Now, you can search for all blocks by ID, even those that are unassigned. This enables operations to manually assign a vehicle and instantly start receiving real-time information about that vehicle.
Link to October release notes
In June we launched Real-Time Crowding in our Real-Time Passenger Information feeds to help riders determine if vehicles are safe to board during COVID-19. This month we launched Real-Time Crowding in Live Operations so customer service, dispatch, and other stakeholders at your agency can make informed decisions based on how crowded a vehicle is. Now, customer service can advise passengers to wait for the next vehicle if the upcoming vehicle is crowded and dispatch can make informed decisions to reduce crowding like short-turning a vehicle.
Swiftly's SMS and Voice allows passengers to request predicted arrival times for their bus stop and route, even without a smartphone. Now, for agencies with GTFS-realtime Alerts feeds, such as customers of Swiftly’s Rider Alerts, Swiftly can incorporate the text of relevant alerts into the SMS and Voice responses, giving riders critical information as they plan their trips.
At Swiftly we believe your data is just that -- your data. We want to make it easy for you to download the datasets you need in the format that’s most helpful. Users already can download the stop-level information in CSV format as well as access the data that powers the Swiftly Dashboard via our APIs. When data is only needed in summarized format, now, you can download by route on-time performance statistics in a CSV format and transform it however you choose.
Link to September release notes
Swiftly’s Onboard App puts Swiftly’s best-in-class real-time data in front of vehicle operators to take the guesswork out of maintaining reliable transit service -- and in the process, rethinks the way your transit tools fit together.
Onboard App runs on off-the-shelf Android or iOS devices -- typically tablets -- and gives operators simple and immediate feedback about how they’re driving their route in the form of timing adherence (early/late/on time), empowering them to manage their own on-time performance and headway adherence in real time. It’s like a personal assistant for your operators, developed wholly with your operators in mind and based on operator feedback.
Improve on-time performance, mitigate early departures, improve vehicle location data, get visibility into contracted service, and wipe out any trip assignment issues with Onboard App.
Check out the full announcement post here.
As many of our agency partners adopt Rider Alerts, we’ve listened to your feedback and identified ways to make the product even more powerful.
We released an update that enables alert authors and other agency staff to view the full content of an alert that has already been published.
We also added the ability to add external URLs to an alert so that agencies can provide passengers with even more information and context.
Accurate assignment is essential to providing reliable passenger information. We just released improvements to our manual assignment functionality to ensure that operators logging into Onboard App and assignment modifications made directly within Live Operations work seamlessly. In particular, these assignments are considered high-priority and will not be overridden by other, automated sources of assignment such as a CAD/AVL feed or Swiftly’s auto-assigner. If a vehicle assigned by an operator or dispatcher goes off-route, rather than becoming unassigned as before, it will retain assignment and show “Performance Unavailable” in the Swiftly products until the vehicle returns to the route.
Link to August 2020 release notes
The lockdowns earlier this year were among the most disruptive months in modern history. But for transit agencies, there was an unlikely silver lining: traffic congestion virtually disappeared on city streets, giving a clear picture of the “true potential” of transit lines. This provides invaluable data around which bottlenecks are connected to traffic and which are in agencies’ own hands.
As lockdowns end and traffic congestion returns, agencies will face the same operational challenges as before the pandemic. So how do agencies ensure they can take the learnings of their “true potential” while avoiding type new operational problems presented by the pandemic?
Swiftly’s existing Speed Map module already makes it easy to find the bottlenecks in your transit network by visualizing the actual speeds your vehicles travel from stop to stop.
We’ve now taken it one step further by adding the High-Resolutions Speeds View, which adds extra granularity, allowing you to see what’s happening to vehicle speeds at each segment between stops.
Are slowdowns happening at specific intersections despite congestion-free conditions? Do certain corridors need “emergency bus lanes” like the ones set up by SFMTA or the MBTA? Segment-Level Speed Map makes it simple to determine.
In order to allay fears around COVID-19, over-communication is key. It helps restore confidence and provide certainty in an atmosphere of uncertainty. Transit agencies must effectively communicate with passengers and provide a host of options, from apps and signage to websites and texts, so riders can decide which medium is right for them based on convenience and accessibility.
To restore ridership agencies need to re-establish rider confidence through accurate, reliable information, accessible through a number of mediums. With Swiftly SMS and Voice passengers can simply text or call a number and receive predictions about when the next vehicle will arrive for their stop and route. Many passengers prefer the simplicity of SMS and Voice to using an app, especially when they take the same route every day. Further, SMS and Voice provides access to predictions on to go for passengers without smartphones.
With Swiftly SMS and Voice, agencies can provide passengers with the same, accurate predictions powered by Swiftly Transitime found in apps, signage, and their website over text and voice.
Link to July 2020 release notes
Maintaining social distancing guidelines has emerged as one of the toughest challenges for transit agencies during the pandemic. To address this, we’ve launched Real-Time Crowding, a new data feature that helps passengers determine if vehicles are safe to board or if they should wait for the next one as well as helps dispatchers identify opportunities to add new service to help alleviate crowding.
Real-Time Crowding is shared with riders through your GTFS-realtime data feed with passenger counts from your AVL or APC feeds or other onboard hardware. By including this information in your GTFS-realtime feeds, Transit, Google Maps, and other apps will automatically display your real-time occupancy level of each of your vehicles.
Our new Stop Details Panel makes it easier to zoom in on details about stops, including upcoming vehicles and predicted arrivals times, while viewing your entire network. As you’re examining your network use the “Locate Stop on Map” button to re-center on the selected stop, which is shown with a larger dot and labeled with the stop ID.
Just like in our Live Map, you can now also click on stops within our Live Ladder to see the Stop Details Panel.
Unassigned trips create ghost buses--service that’s expected by riders looking at a schedule but isn’t showing predictions--and quickly finding them is essential for providing accurate real-time information to your passengers. With Live Operations, find your missing service by looking for scheduled trips labeled "missing."
On Live Ladder, you can also find unassigned trips, which are shown where they are expected to be based on the schedule.
Link to June 2020 release notes
Rider Alerts allows transit agencies to easily communicate service interruptions -- such as service cancellations, detours, stop closures, and significant delays -- to riders wherever they get their transit information.
Rider Alerts provides a simple way for agencies to send information to trip planning apps, so riders can more easily adjust their travel plans, as well as send modified routing information to navigation apps, so riders don’t have to think about it in the first place. In Transit App, passengers can also subscribe to alerts so that they get notified as soon as you publish new information.
Rider Alerts publishes a GTFS-rt Alerts feed, an open data standard, so any app can incorporate these messages. Our open ecosystem also makes it easy for agencies to integrate Rider Alerts through to their own apps, signage, websites, social media, and more. This means that passengers will see the same alerts wherever they get their information.
We’re offering Rider Alerts to agencies at no cost through September. Learn more.
Live Operations helps agencies get proactive about vehicle spacing by flagging, in real time, the vehicles that are contributing most to bunching, gapping, and poor schedule adherence. Live Operations has three views:
1. The Live Map shows where on a map each of your vehicles currently is located (current Swiftly customers will already be familiar with our Live Map);
2. The new Live List makes it simple to sort vehicles by early/late or bunched/gapped and isolate the biggest offenders, so agencies can send out specific instructions to get these vehicles back on track;
3. The new Live Ladder gives a precise, real-time picture of the spacing of every vehicle in your network, updated every few seconds.
Link to May 2020 release notes
Turn on vehicle IDs alongside vehicle markers in Live Map and GPS Playback to easily track particular vehicles as they travel This gives operations and customer service the additional detail they need at a glance.
Last month we released new last stop on-time performance handling options, and we’ve just put on the finishing touches so that these settings apply in our newest module, Operator Reports, as well! Choose from three last stop OTP handling types to customize your OTP calculations. Reach out to your Customer Success Manager if you’re interested in changing your agency’s parameters.
We’re committed to making our data easy to access and use for our customers, whether it’s in the Swiftly dashboard or through our APIs. This month we released our Headways API so that you can use historical data about bunching and gapping beyond the Swiftly Dashboard. To access the Headways API, navigate to the API guide in the menu bar. Don’t have access? Reach out to get an API key.
We are opening up Live Operations (our updated Live Map module) to beta customers. Let us know if you’re interested in early access to real-time list and route ladder views. We’ve been working with several agencies already to highlight the biggest trouble spots and get ahead of reliability issues as they come up during live operations.
Link to March 2020 release notes
At Swiftly, we want to make it easy for your whole agency -- from operations and scheduling to customer service and planning -- to share a single data source, eliminating departmental data silos so everyone is looking at the same metrics.
Now, Swiftly Dashboard can better capture your agency’s on-time performance definitions beyond setting on-time thresholds. By default, the last stop of a trip is treated as any other stop. In response to customer feedback, we now have two additional options for handling last stops:
Option 1: treat an early arrival at the last stop as "on-time" for the purposes of the on-time performance metric
Option 2: remove last stops completely from on-time performance metrics
Option 3 (default): treat the last stop the same as any other stop
Your agency’s configuration will show in the Filter Panel under “Last Stop Handling.” Reach out if you’re interested in changing your agency’s on-time performance parameters.
There’s a new way to easily adjust the time range across modules to an exact time. Simply click the time range fields and type in the appropriate time. As before, you can still drag the time ranges.
Keep your eyes out for Swiftly’s newest features - List and Ladder View. The new features will enable Operations to quickly prioritize vehicles with substantial deviation from their schedule or headway as well as understand vehicle spacing and layovers at a glance to minimize or eliminate the impact on passengers.
Interested in beta testing List and Ladder? Reach out.
Link to February 2020 release notes
In Live Map you can now see timepoints as filled stops to visualize on-time performance and headways at the timepoint level.
GPS Playback is now even easier to use and comes with more control. We added a play button and different speeds.
We also built more ways to quickly access GPS Playback. Click through from the vehicle information view in Live Map, schedule view in the On-Time Performance module, or trip by trip performance in Operator Reports.
The Active Blocks API enables you to easily fetch information on currently active blocks. The data, organized by route, includes scheduled trip information and, if available, any vehicle details associated with the block.
Learn more about this and all of our APIs by clicking on “API Guide” from the top-right Menu. Not seeing it? Reach out to our team to get a new API key to start building your own custom applications and reports on top of Swiftly.
Link to January 2020 release notes
The first transit tool to give agencies a data-driven, objective perspective into how operators are driving their routes and executing their schedules.
You can use Operator Reports to view which operators are adhering to their schedules, recognize operators who might need coaching, and identify reliability issues that might stem from unrealistic schedules.
Link to December 2019 release notes
"Non-revenue” trips are now called “layover/deadhead” to more accurately reflect what the vehicle is doing. We changed these layover/deadhead trips from purple to gray to put more focus on vehicles carrying passengers and to pave the way for more enhancements coming soon!
Now you can jump to Satellite view in any of the Swiftly maps with a click. Or, check out Street View by clicking on any stop in Live Map or GPS Playback to get a feel for amenities and geography.
Swiftly’s Suggested Run-Times can reduce run-times analysis from weeks to minutes, but we know there’s still a lot more work to turn real-world run-times into schedules that factor in resources and staffing. We’ve added a download format, “Stops as rows,” to the Suggested Run-Times view that makes it easier to consolidate route-by-route downloads and do additional analysis.
Route groups in the On-Time Performance module enable you to sort performance by express routes, garages, or modes of transportation. Each might have different conditions, different staff, and even different key performance metrics. Often, these groups want the ability to check only their own performance -- what they can influence -- to get to the bottom of the effects of changes. And hey, we've even heard that some folks use it to spawn a little healthy competition!
Reach out to your customer success manager to pin down which route groups make sense for you agency.
Link to November 2019 release notes
Combining real-time and historical insights are essential to forming a complete and accurate picture of your transit network. That’s why we’re making our modules even more connected. When viewing a vehicle in live map in real time you can now click directly through to GPS playback to see what that vehicle did at any point in the past on that route.
Link to October 2019 release notes