National Express brings CitySwift onboard for COVID-safe bus journeys - CILT(UK)
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National Express brings CitySwift onboard for COVID-safe bus journeys

17 June 2021/Categories: CILT, Industry News, Active Travel & Travel Planning, Bus & Coach, Transport Planning, Coronavirus

National Express has announced a deal with CitySwift, a leader in big data and machine learning for the public transport sector. Through the agreement, National Express West Midlands, the biggest bus operator outside of London, will be using CitySwift’s product suite to help provide enhanced network planning and optimised routes in the region to provide COVID-safe journeys. Through this three year, multi-million technology investment, CitySwift is also supporting National Express Group’s mission to be the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company.  

After a successful initial roll-out, National Express West Midlands has extended its relationship with CitySwift and implemented the company’s data-driven scheduling and planning technology, which uses AI, Big Data and machine learning techniques. By gaining insights through the platform, the bus operator can make more informed decisions to match vehicle supply with passenger demand and improve efficiency and reliability, leading to a better overall onboard experience for customers, while also significantly reducing operating costs.  

Currently, there are 1,300 National Express operational buses in the West Midlands and 150,000 passenger journeys per day. To ensure continued adherence to social distancing requirements, CitySwift will enable the bus operator to share accurate bus capacity predictions on a stop-by-stop basis. This will help passengers make the right journey choices, avoid crowding and feel safer. 

Brian O’Rourke, CEO and co-founder, CitySwift said: “We’re really pleased that National Express chose to work with CitySwift. COVID-19 has forced the public transport sector to be at its most agile, which has meant the adoption of new working practices and technologies at a pace never before seen.

“The pandemic has accelerated the need for the sector to go through a digital transformation to understand how passenger demand will change and National Express is at the forefront of this, as they use our technology to ensure vehicle supply matches the demand.” 

Chris Gibbens, Commercial Director, National Express West Midlands, comments: “As an organisation, we plan to be net-zero by 2030 and CitySwift plays an important role in helping us achieve that. By enabling networks to optimise routes, stay on schedule, and avoid crowding, CitySwift effectively increases the number of people using our buses as well as providing a safe environment for them.

“The pandemic has meant that we need to restore passenger confidence and ensure we put the right number of vehicles on the right routes at the right times to get people back on board, and CitySwift enables us to do just that.” 

With the Commonwealth Games taking place from the 28th July - 8th August, 2022, CitySwift’s platform will also be supporting National Express West Midlands to help it efficiently and reliably transport visitors to and around the city of Birmingham. 

The platform is currently live with 8,500 buses in over 35 cities across the UK, US and Europe. 

CitySwift’s platform combines a vast array of big data sources to develop rich datasets that are unique to each bus network and geographical location. Machine learning models within the platform are trained on these datasets to deliver highly accurate predictions of future operating conditions and constraints. These in turn provide optimal transport networks, meeting and exceeding customer demand in the most efficient way. CitySwift’s platform offers three products: 

SwiftMetrics - instantly visualises and automatically reports detailed reliability, efficiency and demand metrics, enabling more informed decisions for network development and growth.
SwiftConnect - uses data to encourage passengers back onto buses safely. Using AI, it predicts capacity levels for every bus, for any specific date and time.
SwiftSchedule - helps to accurately predict journey times based on operating conditions and passenger demand, significantly reducing network review timescales and increasing network efficiency. 

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