The technology making our buses safer

Running your own commercial transport fleet can be a stressful experience. Whether it’s a local bus service or an international airline, some features of travel are essential to ensure happy passengers: comfort, accessibility, punctuality and, of course, safety. With new technologies comes the opportunity to build on these key requirements and improve the travel experience for everyone. Here are just five technologies that can help increase security on your coaches – making for a safer and more secure journey for all.

CCTV to monitor passengers

While a fairly regular feature on most trains, CCTV is still fairly scarce on local bus services. But CCTV technology is becoming cheaper every day, while the advantages to using it are substantial. For one, CCTV allows you to track who boards the vehicle. Not only does this record everything that happens in the event of an incident, it also acts as a deterrent to anyone onboard considering anything dangerous or illegal.

With a data connection, captured footage can be stored on an internal server, or sent direct to an external source. CCTV provides added security to those outside of the bus too, as any passengers that go on to commit crimes later that day can be identified by the CCTV footage.

CCTV on bus and coach hire

Vehicle tracking with GPS

For companies with a large fleet, keeping track of where each coach is at any given time can be a logistical nightmare. But GPS enables companies to know the location of every vehicle in an instant, centralising the information and saving valuable time in the process.

With GPS, discrepancies in the route are identified immediately. Companies can contact the driver to ensure there are no problems and resolve any potential safety/security issues as and when they arise. This isn’t just useful for working hours. If a coach goes missing outside of service hours, the GPS can guide police to its location while relaying valuable information about the driving behaviour of whoever is behind the wheel.

Global Positioning System satellite for coaches

Dash cams for exterior visibility

Dash cams are becoming increasingly popular in commercial transport, but are still absent from many of the smaller fleets. Despite the industry’s reticence, dash cams are a great additional security feature. Not only do they provide an additional level of visibility, dash cams can be used to report dangerous drivers on the road.

If the worst should happen and a coach is involved in an accident, dash cams present clear, incontestable evidence as to what happened. With a Volo unit installed on a coach, the crash footage is saved and protected even if the cameras are damaged, much like a black box on an aeroplane. They can also double as external security cameras when the coach is stationary providing the operator leaves them on. Additionally, dash cams enable operators to review footage and optimise journeys based on variables such as traffic flow, road works and pick-up points.

Looking down the interior of a long-distance coach

Mobile ticketing

More of a failsafe solution than a security feature, mobile ticketing nevertheless makes the entire transport system easier and more secure. This method also makes for a more reliable tracking and measurement system, digitally recording every passenger and sending the information direct to a fixed server elsewhere.

Mobile ticketing also enables operators to track everyone who boarded the vehicle through their unique ticket code. After all, a personal mobile is infinitely easier to track than a generic paper ticket. Not only does this allow companies to build up a more accurate depiction of their passengers, it also removes any element of human error through a secure operating system with digital authentication. To ensure everyone can board, most digital ticketing systems use a QR code system to allow passengers that don’t want to use their smartphone to use a printed ticket.

Using your mobile smartphone device to board a coach

Constant network connection

These days, passengers expect an omnipresent internet connection – either through their own mobile network data or, better yet, free wifi courtesy of the coach company. We’re now at a point where an internet connection is second only to breathable air and a seat in terms of expected amenities on a long journey. But adding an onboard network also provides coaches with an extra level of safety and security.

Coaches with in-journey wifi can communicate quickly and efficiently with a network operation centre (NOC) and as long as the coach has monitoring software installed, the NOC can monitor the coach’s performance. This means if the coach begins experiencing problems the issue can be resolved effectively without any delay. Serious issues that could pose a risk to the passengers and driver can be identified quickly, adding a further safeguard against potential injury.

Using your smartphone on a bus with onboard streaming server