What Radiola Saw in Common Between Aviation and Public Transport

Posted 4 years ago · 3 minutes to read

September 13, 2018

At face value, there may seem to be very little crossover with the aeronautical navigation, and your morning bus to work. Yes – people commute on planes across the world for work… but isn’t that where the similarities end?

DA42 Aircraft and Bus

Left: DA42 Aircraft / Right: Bayhopper Bus

Not for Radiola. With our strong background in supporting aerospace systems, guiding aircraft into and around airports, we knew our knowledge and expertise perfectly placed us to disrupt the public transport market. 

So how are they similar? It boils down to two factors – point-to-point location tracking and decreasing the margin for error. In the case of public transport, the margin of error is about timetabling, and narrowing the difference between timetabled and actual arrival.

How our background enables us

Our work worldwide has provided us with a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience across a number of aerospace systems: radio and mobile data communication networks, navigational systems, as well as GPS and telemetric positioning systems.

Within the aviation industry, the margin of error is minuscule. The propensity for accidents is high, especially when you are working in marginal conditions, like storms or blizzards. Yet, the world has to move from A to B. And wind and rain can’t stop that. That’s why we track our aircraft through space within a tolerance of fewer than 5 centimetres. Avoiding accidents rests on the collection of high-quality accurate information. That means close tracking, as well as a deep understanding of navigational aid calibration. This helps us reach the highest of standards. 

We thought that same premise could apply to public transport.

Accuracy Wins the day

Public transport infrastructure has a difficult history in New Zealand, with successive central governments tending to prioritise travel by private car. While this is changing, the result is a public transport infrastructure that has been historically underfunded, unable to deliver to the demands of city citizens and transport agencies. This is improving – with high quality, reliable and well-connected bus and train services being rolled across Auckland, for example. 

Part of the answer to avoid commuter frustration lies in accuracy. That means tracking your bus, train, or light-rail vehicle across town, point-to-point, and transmitting that data through the system. That way, we can give our travellers accurate and up-to-minute information about location, and, therefore, arrival time on e-Stops.

Margin of error

It is clear that the aviation industry rests on a narrow margin of error. That margin applies not only to safety but also to timeliness. Domestic and international commuters despise delays, and airlines try to avoid delaying flights as much as possible. It means backlog and disruption for planes as they move from terminal to take-off, and inevitable (sometimes endless) frustration for passengers. Yet, our public transport infrastructure occasionally lacks the same critical perspective. As our public infrastructure across the country continues to remain stressed - due to popularity - delays can become common. How we communicate congestion and delays, understandably, requires careful thought.

Our approach again is inspired from our years in aviation. Accurate information means a communication that is clear for the passengers. Instead of a traditional paper timetable, which essentially approximates the arrival time, an eStop can take accurate information and update passengers reflexively, keeping them in the loop if delays are happening.

Consider your own public transport system with the same weight given to aviation... the results may surprise you

At Radiola Land, our experience working around the globe has given our team an unmatched perspective on creative solution design and problem-solving. When it came to public transport infrastructure, our highly skilled engineers, problem solvers and project managers, approach it with the same critical, creative demand required in the aviation industry. Contact us today if you want to discuss technological solutions for your own public transport system.