"This is going to need increased collaboration for it to work, as it all has to be delivered in a very tight period.”
Transport for London (TfL) is to undertake an overhaul its radio communication systems used on overland transport in the city, a move taken to boost operational efficiency and improve the service that it can offer its passengers. Tait Communications will be supplying the digital system that will provide the “huge-step up in capacity”, effectively doubling the number of calls that can be handled by the current system from 38,000 to 68,000 peak-time calls, according to TfL.
First being rolled out across the TfL bus infrastructure, Simon Reed, head of technology and data and surface transport at TfL said that the eventual plan was use such technology across its over-ground transport.
“This is an aggressive roll out plan that will be introduced while the old service is still running,” explained Reed at the signing of the agreement at New Zealand High Commission in central London. He added that the system’s increased capacity would also better protect the public better, as “whether you’re using 2, 3 or even 4G it isn’t enough,” a situation that he said wasn’t acceptable.
Offering a level of encryption that makes them secure and very difficult to listen into, the digital technology reduces call times and is future-proofed to work with other systems. The equipment from the New Zealand company, Tait Communications, is based on its UnifyVehicle platform, which gives users access to multiple carrier standards in addition to mobile radios such as next-generation cellular and Wi-Fi. UnifyVehicle also has the ability to run customised data applications to improve operational efficiency and passenger service.
Andrew Gill, the managing director of Tait Europe Middle East and Africa, said that the roll-out of the new technology was proceeded by an extremely challenging procurement process from TfL. “From a non-tech perspective, this is going to need increased collaboration for it to work, as it all has to be delivered in a very tight period,” said Gill, who added it had been one of the toughest and most robust processes he had taken part in in more than 20 years.