UK’s National Express will use CitySwift data to keep passengers informed


The UK’s National Express has announced a deal with CitySwift, a specialist in big data and machine learning for the public transport sector. Through the agreement, National Express West Midlands, the biggest bus operator outside of London, will use CitySwift’s data-driven scheduling and planning technology, which uses AI, Big Data and machine learning techniques.

There are 1,300 National Express buses operational in the West Midlands and 150,000 passenger journeys per day. To ensure continued adherence to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, CitySwift will enable National Express to share accurate bus capacity predictions on a stop-by-stop basis. This will help passengers make the right journey choices, avoid crowding and feel safer. The platform will also enable the bus operator to match  supply with passenger demand. This will improve efficiency and reliability, leading to a better overall onboard experience for customers, while also reducing operating costs.

“COVID-19 has forced the public transportation sector to be at its most agile, which has meant the adoption of new working practices and technologies at a pace never before seen,” says Brian O’Rourke, CEO and co-founder of CitySwift. “The pandemic has accelerated the need for the sector to go through a digital transformation to understand how passenger demand will change and National Express is at the forefront of this, as they use our technology to ensure vehicle supply matches the demand.”

Through this three year, multi-million technology investment, CitySwift is also supporting National Express Group’s mission to be the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company.

“As an organization, we plan to be net-zero by 2030 and CitySwift plays an important role in helping us achieve that,” comments Chris Gibbens, commercial director, National Express West Midlands. “By enabling networks to optimize routes, stay on schedule, and avoid crowding, CitySwift effectively increases the number of people using our buses as well as providing a safe environment for them. The pandemic has meant that we need to restore passenger confidence. We need to ensure we put the right number of vehicles on the right routes at the right times to get people back on board, and CitySwift enables us to do just that.”

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Lauren is a regular contributor to Traffic Technology International (TTi) and a freelance technical journalist. Over the past 15 years, she has worked on a wide variety of B2B publications and websites, including a stint as deputy editor of Traffic Technology International from 2014-2016. She has a degree in English from the University of Exeter. Lauren is mum to two busy little girls. She is always in demand!