Maximising island mobility

Bus passengers in the Canary Islands spent several months testing a prototype real-time information system. Designed and built locally, it had static and active screens on an information terminal, so they could quickly check vehicle times or plan wider journeys within the archipelago using other means of transport.

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Planning your journey around Gran Canaria now much easier Planning your journey around Gran Canaria now much easier

"The SIVR offers real-time information to the users and staff of the intercity transport buses of Gran Canaria, regarding the network, destination, lines, locations, timetables, etc."
Pedro Suárez, head of technological innovation for Global

Popular with passengers and the bus operator, the system highlighted the benefits of combining new ICT technologies with transport systems. It may be rolled out across the island of Gran Canaria and has caught the eye of other European transport operators.

Information terminals

In 2000, the archipelago’s government drew up a plan to increase the use of ICT in the Canary Islands, including traffic management and resource planning, one aim being to improve public transport systems for inter-island mobility. The SIVR: En Route Passenger System project fitted into this scheme, by developing a prototype terminal that provides passengers with more and better travel information.

Supported by the Canary Islands’ government, the project was co-funded by the EU and completed after twelve months in December 2005. It involved municipalities and island councils, plus regional transport companies, technology firms and the University of Las Palmas. The main contractor was local firm DESIC, responsible for coordinating the project, developing software modules, monitoring and other key work.

Real-life tests were done in Santa Lucia municipality on Gran Canaria, the archipelago’s second-most populated island. Information terminals in the shape of a totem pole were developed and installed at some bus stops used by vehicles of local public transport company Global.

Commercially viability

Each information point had a static top screen displaying bus timetables and adverts. The touch-screen below allowed users to plan journeys on the island or to consult local tourism information.

Further innovations included WiFi, so passengers could access information via mobile phones or laptops, and central monitoring of the terminals through GPS and radio-contact. The terminals also provided network information to bus inspectors and drivers.

Designed to be transferable to other transport companies, the SIVR: En Route Passenger System demonstrated how ICT could facilitate passenger mobility, improve transport services and enhance the efficiency of transport companies. Gran Canaria’s main bus operator may adopt the whole system, while parts of it could be commercialised elsewhere.

Draft date

16/12/2009