Transport for London (TfL) is one of the largest transport authorities in the world. The London bus network sees over 2 billion journeys a year and since the 2000s, Tait has provided communications solutions for their fleet of over 9,000 buses, maintaining this partnership to this day.
In the early 2000s, the radios installed in London buses became obsolete and needed to be replaced. It’s typical of large organizations to be very risk averse, and reluctant to make drastic changes to their technology choices. TfL required a radio with similar functionality to their previous system, the system needed to be able to fit into buses without modification. Tait responded to this challenge by combining an external interface module with a modified Tait T2032 mobile radio, that was fully compatible with the existing system and had a similar interface.
This collaboration was the start of the long-term partnership between TfL and Tait Communications.
TfL’s existing radio network needed a complete replacement following obsolescence of core infrastructure and an increase of bus and passenger services. Tait and TfL worked together to deliver a 10-site (VHF), 76 channel trunked MPT 1327 network to support high-quality voice and data applications. This project also offered Real Time Passenger Information at bus, stops and SMS messaging.
In 2015, TfL chose to continue their critical comms partnership with Tait for another 5 years. This contract allowed TfL to extend the life of their ‘iBus’ radio system to ensure maximum utilization of their wider network.
“The contract with TfL is a great example of Tait’s ability to provide value to its customers through strong, long-term partnerships. Working closely with Trapeze and Magdalene has allowed us to continue to provide services tailored to our customers’ needs.”– Hans van der Linde, Regional General Manager of Tait Europe
In 2018, TfL required a migration to a digital radio solution. They trusted Tait once again to replace its existing analog radio system with a new Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) system. This infrastructure change provided excellent coverage across London’s fleet of 9,000 buses.
In March 2019, Tait completed the digital upgrade of Transport for London’s surface fleet. The radio system provides robust and reliable voice and data connections between all vehicles on their surface fleet network including dispatch and control centers. Tait designed the new system to be both a resilient system for today’s needs and as a digital platform for future applications.
The on-bus equipment is based on the TAIT AXIOM Mobile platform, which gives access to multiple bearers in addition to mobile radio, including cellular, WiFi, and the ability to run custom applications.
“We place great value on our long-term relationship with Transport for London, so we’re delighted to have delivered fully on the trust placed in us.” – Garry Diack, Former CEO of Tait Communications
The COVID-19 pandemic was a shock to industries around the world. Each industry had its unique set of problems to solve and Transport for London was tasked with continuing operations to keep the essential workers of London moving. The Push-To-Talk-over-Cellular (PTToC) solution was a fundamental part of the DMR Tier 3 Network upgrade in 2019 and Tait engineers had to implement one of the most complex PTToC integrations seen to date.
The PTTOC solution that was delivered is fully interoperable with TfL’s DMR network, and allows staff to talk to drivers in the TfL’s 9,500 bus fleet directly using their smartphones, removing the need to carry a separate radio. The PTToC integration was found especially useful when TfL needed to add more buses to its fleets to meet the needs of social distancing requirements. The whole project came together in less than 4 weeks and 80 buses were added to TfL’s PTToC service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telent’s secure digital radio managed service will deliver increased flexibility and performance to support National Express West Midlands (NXWM) bus operations, integrating vehicle systems with its distributed control rooms. This upgraded the digital mobile radio (DMR) communications and services to a fleet of more than 1,500 buses in the region.
Partnering with TfL on several large communications projects has gained Tait a reputation as a trusted industry leader, with a track record of proven performance. This has attracted other opportunities for Tait in the Transport industry.
The traveling public of Greater Manchester, UK will enjoy the benefits of modern, clear and reliable digital communication courtesy of Tait and our partners, TES Communications Solutions. A large part of Manchester’s bus network will move over to a Tait DMR Tier 3 radio system, developed with a focus on safety. This adoption of a digital mobile radio network stands to impact the reliability and accuracy of bus services in the Greater Manchester area, serving a population of 2.85 million citizens.