Vehicle tracking is on the buses

A vehicle-tracking technology developed at Sunderland University will be used by Arriva buses in Scotland to help regulate services.

The technology, sold through South Tyneside-based FleetM8, uses GPS to track a vehicle’s position and movements.

‘Our software can send the data back every second through the GRPS network to a remote, web-based server,’ said Neil Herron, marketing director for FleetM8.

‘As a fleet manager you can watch what your vehicles are doing and make real-time decisions,’ he said. Herron said Arriva has already fitted FleetM8 telemetry devices to buses on one route in Glasgow and the technology has since demonstrated that it can prevent buses from ‘bunching up’.

‘We hope to one day remove the phrase from the English language: “all the buses seem to come at once”,’ he said. ‘Our system is accurate to less than one metre.’

FleetM8’s tracking system was created by Prof Phillip Tann at Sunderland University for producing dynamic maps for vehicle-navigation systems so drivers could tell when roads are quiet or when traffic flows are sluggish.

The system is currently being used by London pub owners to track beer deliveries.

It has also been fitted on buses in India by Karnataka State Road Transport in Mysore.

Herron said the next step will be to incorporate mobile phones into the Arriva bus system. This, he said, will mean passengers will receive a text when their bus is 500m away from their stop. It will also eventually allow them to purchase tickets through their mobile phone.