Transport Data Management

Ito World. Data in Motion

Bringing Arriva's Real-Time Passenger Information Into Google Maps

“Essentially, by making this detail more widely available, we are putting customers back in control of their travel options and improving their journeys with the simple click of a mouse, or touch of a button.”

Mike Woodhouse – Arriva’s Senior Marketing Manager

The Challenge

We used our expertise in complex data management to help Arriva become the first UK bus operator to provide real-time transport information via Google maps.

Arriva, one of the UK’s largest national bus operators, wanted to make its real-time journey planning and service information even more widely accessible to the travelling public by making it available on one of the world’s leading journey planners, Google Maps. For Arriva, making their real-time bus service information available for passengers through Google Maps was a natural extension of their efforts to provide accurate and consistent information across multiple channels. By helping Arriva, we aim to give people more confidence in public transport and to help them make better transport decisions.

The Solution

Building Google Maps partnership

As an agency for Google’s public transit data, we provided data conversion and quality improvement services to help ensure Google Maps has accurate public transport information. Google Maps has expanded beyond journey planning by car, increasingly enabling its user to plan multi-modal, public transport journeys. Real-time bus service information outside of London was a gap in Google Maps’ offering and we were well placed to help fill this gap. Our experience in partnering with public transport operators and the World’s largest journey planners was crucial in delivering this solution for Arriva.

Advanced real-time data expertise

Allowing the public to plan multi-modal, public transport journeys also requires complex interactions between many data sets. We worked closely with Arriva’s real-time passenger information supplier HaCon to ensure that the data could be successfully brought into the Ito World data management platform and accurately matched to the scheduled information. We also ensured that data was converted and customised into the formats that meet Google’s technical requirements. At the time, HaCon were transferring across from supplying data in the SIRI VM format to the PT/ET format. They had encountered some challenges, but we quickly demonstrated our technical ability and the testing and rollout ran very smoothly.

“At the outset, ourselves and our real time supplier were concerned over the technical delivery challenges in bringing the real time data from our 4,000 buses (excluding London) into Google Maps within a short timescale. Ito were very professional, quickly gained the confidence of our supplier, and were highly responsive. Their technical capabilities are clearly second to none and the delivery ran very smoothly.”

Mike Woodhouse, Senior Marketing Manager for digital channels and customer relationship management, Arriva.

“We were excited to bring real-time information to all of our Google Maps users just in time for summer when people across the country rely on buses to get to and from their holiday destinations. We believe this gives our users more options and saves them more time.”

David Tattersall – Maps Product Manager for Google.

The Result

  • Arriva became the first national bus operator to share their real time information within Google Maps in Great Britain.
  • Real-time data from 4,000 Arriva buses was successfully brought into Google Maps.
  • Work was completed within a short timescale, in time for the launch of the new Google Maps service in June 2015.
  • We are first supplier Arriva and HaCon have worked with who have been able to algorithmically fix some of the data anomalies they encounter.
  • We have increased the real-time, multi-modal transport information in the hands of the public, allowing them to make better decisions before and while travelling and increasing their confidence in using public transport.