Everything that we touch or interact with has
been developed to a standard, from the plug
that connects your kettle to make your morning
cup of tea, to the fuel that powers the car or
bus that takes you to work. Imagine how life
would be if each appliance in your house used
a different plug into your mains electricity, or
the type of fuel was specific to your make of
car. Or (heaven forbid!) if you couldn’t mix
Mac and Microsoft operating systems!
Standards gave us freedom of choice for consumers and
enterprise businesses, ensuring that there is no need for a
proprietary, wholesale, big-bang upgrade of IT equipment
everytime a new device comes along.
Telecoms standards released by the 3GPP-enabled global
adoption of cellular technology with roaming around the world.
PMR/LMR standards – Tetra, APCO P25 and more recently DMR
– enable interoperability between devices and networks, and
choice of connected applications from different vendors. In fact,
we have all started to take standards for granted.
However, in Public Transport, IT standards are less mature. Over
several decades, Tait has developed numerous public transport
radio systems, and almost every case has required costly,
bespoke interface development between mobile radio, on-board
systems and the back office.
ITXPT – DRIVING STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT
The ITxPT (Information Technology for Public Transport)
Association has been formed to share experience and best
practices to evolve a working standard for Public Transport IT
systems - from the vehicles right through to back office.
The Association will specify communication protocols and
hardware interfaces for full interoperability, so that Public
Transport operators and authorities can specify certified Plug-and-Play functionality when they purchase new or upgraded IT
systems. Common mechanisms, standards and protocols will
allow them to use data for buses, rail, coaches and tramways
anywhere in Europe.
Participating ITxPT members can access the ITxPT platform to
test devices and applications in real operational conditions. The
test bench will specify, test, qualify and showcase IT solutions,
as well as evolving new solutions. Through the Association,
members will contribute their collective knowledge and expertise
to dedicated working groups.
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS AND ITxPT
Tait Communications has joined ITxPT as a Principal Member,
alongside a broad eco-system of key transport stakeholders. (To
date, Tait is the only radio communications company to join.)
“In the communications world, we champion open-standards
technology,” says John Gardener, Chief Technology Officer of
Tait Communications in Europe. “In joining the ITxPT initiative we
aim to contribute to the development of these standards for the
Public Transport sector.”
Tait has been providing critical communication solutions to
transport operators and authorities for nearly 50 years and
is committed to interoperable, open standards-based solutions.
By connecting intelligent transport system (ITS) infrastructure
in the control centre, on the streets and in vehicles, Tait data
transmission and high-reliability voice communication provide
operators with tools that greatly enhance passenger service.
Tait has long-standing relationships with ITS providers and
leading transport authorities and operators in the UK (London,
Dublin, Edinburgh), the Czech Republic (Pilsen), the United
States (Portland, Oregon) and Australia (Queensland) to design,
implement and commission communication solutions.
“This rich seam of knowledge and experience allows us to
influence and drive discussions with ITxPT’s broad membership
of vehicle manufacturers and operators, transport authorities,
and ITS, application and service providers around the world.”
John Gardener says. As an example, the IT architecture
developed in the European Bus System of the Future project
and the Transport for London trial has paved the way for cost-effective deployment of on-board digital systems and back office
applications on the vehicles.
“Open standards are a core aspect of the solutions and services
we offer and advocate for, whether it is with the FCC in the
USA, ETSI in Europe or 3GPP on the development of global
cellular standards. The ultimate goal is to be in the position
where, regardless of the sector our customers operate in,
communications interoperability and vehicle integration
is a given.” says John.