I started in the transportation industry more than 25 years ago as a young student intern at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. At that time, we were researching and designing very early control systems for demand-oriented transit. Since then, we have made tremendous advancements in technology. However, the future will require more progressive systems capable of interfacing between transit operating systems and the various modes of transportation. This will require us to build on established industry standards. Our aim must be to have the capability to interface with other systems worldwide.
INIT systems are already built following industry standards. For example, INIT uses Windows XP embedded as the operating system for onboard computers. This technology has developed into an IT platform on the bus where third party applications can be co-hosted, and various devices can be link together. Although this is the standard for INIT, we now see it becoming an industry trend.
Another advance in technology is the move from CAD/AVL systems to Intermodal Transport Control System, or ITCS. Traditional CAD/AVL systems only focus on supporting operations. ITCS by INIT is an advanced communications tool with the ability to support intra-company sharing of data using an open system, and the ability to link various modes of transportation. The concept of having information available immediately to everyone is becoming the norm. For instance, when a passenger exits the bus they access real-time information from variable message boards for all available modes of transportation (subway, light rail or shuttle). The system also controls and assures successful passenger transfers. INIT has been successful with this system in supporting the city of Munich in managing crowds during the 2006 soccer world cup tournament. Eventually this technology will be able to link with heavy rail, air and even individual traffic. The basic idea is to be prepared to support future mobility concepts.
ITCS also supports shared information workflow concepts with reporting systems. This is also becoming the standard. For instance, an incident form started by a dispatcher can be simultaneously shared with a supervisor in the field using a wireless PDA or laptop. This technology will continue to drive future business.
Finally, a future function of the Intermodal Transport Control System will be the ability to use buses as traffic probes by linking into traffic control systems. Using ITCS, you constantly know where the buses are and how they move. All this information will be fed into a city traffic control system to provide real-time information about current traffic flow conditions. This information will be shared between dispatchers and traffic control officials creating inter-agency cooperation and increased efficiency and service to the end customer.
Whatever technology is developed in the future, INIT is ready. Our commitment to our customers and dedication to development in cooperation with their needs will keep us in the fast lane as we drive confidently into the future. We will continue to lead the way for CAD/AVL and ITCS technology worldwide.
Roland Staib earned his masters degree in business engineering from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. Roland started his career with INIT 25 years ago as a software engineer. From there, he moved into project management and sales, and for the past four years has served as CEO of INIT’s U.S. office.