Greek islands enhance public transport with solar-powered passenger information systems


As part of a wider national strategy to develop intelligent systems to handle the increasing demand for sustainable transportation, travellers on two Greek islands will benefit from real-time passenger information on solar-powered e-paper bus stop displays.

Developed and supplied by UK company Papercast, the e-paper displays have been deployed on the popular resort islands of on Santorini and Syros as a result of smart city projects led by Athens-based Amco Inspired Technologies. Both projects are expected to make a significant contribution towards improving the quality of life for residents and visitors by increasing the use of public transport while reducing private vehicle emissions. Amco has become the leading provider of fare collection and passenger information systems for public transportation in Greece, and has successfully implemented hundreds of projects for private and public sector enterprises across the country.

In Santorini (officially Thira) the scope is to develop and operate an intelligent telematics platform for the public bus service. The technology will enable the municipality to optimise route planning and provide passengers with real-time trip related information. Amco is providing a comprehensive solution that includes a Transit Management System (TMS) with Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) from Papercast partner LIT Transit, and a Passenger Information System (PIS). It encompasses a complete control centre that consolidates information from bus driver consoles to provide real-time passenger information. This live service information is delivered via smart bus stops using Papercast e-paper displays and associated system applications such as a mobile app and website.

In the Syros Ermoupolis Municipality, Amco is providing an integrated multi-channel information system for bus transport using similar technology components to Santorini. The public will be able to gain information on public transport routes and the estimated time of arrival at bus stops in real-time on Papercast e-paper passenger information displays. The system includes LED and LCD passenger information displays within the city buses showing route itineraries, next stop and journey times. Live information is also available in real-time via a smartphone mobile application, SMS text, and a customised web application. All data will be gathered in the central management platform, featuring state-of-the-art functionality and providing remote monitoring and management.

Papercast’s next generation bus stop passenger information solution uses wireless solar-powered e-paper displays, with a comprehensive content management system developed exclusively for public transport needs. The unique attributes of e-paper make it ideal for outside use, with high screen visibility, even in direct sunlight. This is coupled with wireless connectivity and exceptionally low power consumption, allowing the displays to be continuously solar powered without changing the battery, with no power or connectivity cables required. Operators can now provide live information to passengers at bus stops where previously it would not have been feasible. Papercast’s sophisticated cloud-based management system also offers simple integration with open data standards, as well as the ability to control all aspects of the display and its content remotely.

“The operators were initially considering alternative signage technologies, but were more impressed with e-paper technology,” commented Iraklis Kitsonas, Amco’s international sales manager. “Papercast offers a self-sustainable solution that is completely solar powered and installed off-grid without any power or connectivity requirements. It also performs extremely well as an outside display, with excellent visibility even in direct sunlight. Overall, Papercast offers intelligent technology that blends seamlessly with the islands idyllic scenery.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.