Via's four new systems fit together onto a transit unit
Photo credit: Via Analytics
Shortly before APTA, Via Analytics will simultaneously launch four new products.
On the vehicle side, our transit synchronization system, Tempo is a proven solution to keep even spacing between vehicles while maintaining high system speeds. It runs as an app on inexpensive, networked Android tablets, giving drivers simple visual guidance to coordinate routes in real-time.
Our product launch will introduce two more beta-tested tablet applications to complement Tempo:
- ECOVIA: an application that streams data from the vehicle's engine to the tablet. This gives drivers real-time feedback designed to reduce fuel usage.
- AVI: automatic vehicle location/information application that runs on commoditized Android hardware. It is distinguished by its low cost and software-as-a-service pricing model.
We are complementing the vehicle-side applications with the release of an open, cloud-based analytics platform. We believe that releasing our analytics tools open-source represents a fundamental shift in how the transit industry turns data into information.
There are three main components on the cloud side:
- VAULT: a cloud-based database designed to provide robust, scalable, and inexpensive storage of vehicle location data, arrival event data, and passenger count data.
- VTFS: the first industry standard for accessing archived transit data for report generation. VTFS includes meticulous documentation to make it easy for agencies and third party developers to build on top of our open API
- VIZ: an open-source suite of tools to provide passenger information, real-time analytics, historical report generation, and third party modules. We designed VIZ to give agencies actionable insights into their operations and automate tedious back office work. (If you're interested, I would be happy to provide you with a sneak peak of VIZ.)
Releasing VIZ open-source means that agencies can freely use, view, and modify the underlying source code. In addition to reducing financial costs compared with proprietary software, open-source comes with a number of other benefits:
- Open-source software is much more flexible than proprietary software since agencies have the freedom to customize it exactly as they like.
- VIZ allows open-source analytics tools, increasing the transparency of report generation.
- Finally, we have set up a report exchange system to make it frictionless for agencies to share modules with each other. This has the effect of multiplying everyone's productivity. For example, if an agency develops a useful module (e.g. to automatically generate NTD reports), it can be freely and easily shared with other agencies through the VIZ report exchange.