NatEx uses AI to aid passengers

National Express West Midlands has launched a new information service for bus users that delivers stop-by-stop bus capacity predictions up to two weeks in advance. It should allow passengers to determine the best time to travel, based on predicted available bus capacity data.

Powered by the CitySwift bus data engine, the bus capacity checker at uses artificial intelligence to predict capacity levels for every bus, for any specific date and time. Information is continually updated based on actual bus loads, and shared with passengers online in a ‘traffic light’ format, helping to spread demand peaks and improve the comfort and safety of bus users.

Andy Foster, Deputy Commercial Director at NXWM, said: “The main driver was trying to avoid the problem in the first place of a bus becoming too full,” he comments. “That’s going to be particularly important as we head towards September and schools and colleges return, more people go back to work and so on.”

The launch follows NXWM’s work with CitySwift a series of network recasts following the easing of the lockdown. The 1,600-vehicle company has deployed the SwiftMetrics network analysis platform and SwiftSchedule timetable optimisation technology across its entire bus network. The software has enabled schedulers and network planners to respond quickly to changes in demand.

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