New information and management system for public transport in Athens

An integrated telematics system for passenger information and fleet management has been installed on the public transport network serving Athens and the surrounding area. The system aims to enhance the daily lives of residents by improving the quality of transport services.

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One of  the new passenger information signs on the Athens public transport network. © Special Secretariat for Public-Private Partnerships One of the new passenger information signs on the Athens public transport network. © Special Secretariat for Public-Private Partnerships

" The ‘Attica Urban Transportation - Telematics System PPP Project’ has enabled the transportation network in Athens to adapt to the needs of contemporary life for increased reliability and efficiency, proving to be an exemplary project. It is the first ICT PPP project in Greece; it is also the first PPP project in the EU that utilises private capital, while, at the same time, combining two EU funding instruments, namely EU grants and the financial engineering instrument JESSICA. "

Nikolaos Mantzoufas, Special Secretary for Public-Private Partnerships in Greece and President of the JESSICA Investment Board

The project entailed the design, financing, installation, maintenance and technical management of a complete telematics system. As part of this, 1 000 ‘smart’ public transport stops were installed throughout the area covered by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation.

An interactive online public information system for all lines and services is now available. Equipment was installed in the bus and trolleybus fleet and a control centre was set up, both of which enable real-time monitoring of transport operations.

A cutting-edge public-private partnership

Implemented under a public-private partnership — one of the first aimed at deployment of information and communication technology in transport in Greece — the project sought to help to cut congestion in Athens. It also aimed to raise levels of coordination, productivity and cost-effectiveness in the public transport system and, by improving service, to increase passenger numbers and generate revenue.

The telematics system features real-time monitoring of the position of all vehicles and provision of information to passengers on transit times via the smart stops, the Internet, SMS and 3G mobile telephony applications. It allows drivers to communicate with transport management centres and provides in-vehicle announcements about stops and ad-hoc announcements from management centres.

Passenger traffic information by line, stop, route or time can be accessed via an automatic passenger counting system. The system also allows for checking of punctuality, optimisation of scheduling and updates on cancellations or schedule changes.

Benefits of real-time information

The transport network now benefits from closer monitoring and coordination of its operations, particularly via the control centre. The real-time information provided by the telematics system is used for updating and redesigning routes, optimising fleet management through an automatic vehicle positioning system, improving connections between bus lines and coping with different kinds of event.

Athens now has a faster and more reliable public transport network, with a better public image. This has helped to heighten trust in the network and is expected to lead to increases in passenger traffic of at least 0.2 % a year.

By increasing the attractiveness of public transport, the project should help to reduce car use, thereby cutting air pollution. Better route planning could also help to improve the functioning of the transport system, making it possible to cut the number of vehicles required for the network. More indirectly, better travelling conditions on journeys to work will help to increase the efficiency of the network and get travellers to places — including their work — faster.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Integrated telematics system for passenger information and fleet management” is EUR 18 918 340, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 9 299 202 through the “JESSICA” Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date