Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has begun the first UK trial of a computer programme to improve bus services and routes.
The programme has been provided by Remix, a US software company, and is designed to help with network development, cost and demographic impact analysis, and streamlined communication internally and externally.
TfWM, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said the programme was undergoing a 12 month evaluation.
Edmund Salt, TfWM network development manager, said he was excited by the potential he had seen so far in the Remix programme.
He said: “Firstly, it will help us create Network Development Plans to guide local bus improvements and support growth on area-by-area basis across the whole region – a core deliverable for us within our role in the West Midlands Bus Alliance.
“Secondly, it allows us to identify network route changes to support growth through the use of visualised data.
“This means we can better plan adjustments to the network in response to land use changes, as per the WMCA Strategic Economic Plan, which we haven’t been able to do before. It allows us to understand that in the context of the bus network, then shape it to deliver economic growth.”
Remix is a San Francisco-based software company with offices in Amsterdam, and customers in 275 cities worldwide.
The platform helps users immediately understand the trade-offs of proposed changes, so he or she can design, evaluate, visualise, refine, and communicate plans all in one place.
“At Remix, our goal is to help plan more livable cities, so we look forward to supporting the numerous projects across the West Midlands” said Dan Getelman, co-founder and European general manager of Remix.
"We are thrilled to partner with TfWM, our first customer in the UK to help them guide the future of their transport network."
“We applaud TfWM’s innovative approach to planning, development, and collaboration, and have been impressed by the level of expertise we’ve seen so far throughout the organisation and Bus Alliance.
TfWM subsidised bus network: TfWM is responsible for tendered, socially necessary services not provided by the commercial bus market. Using Remix, network planners at TfWM are able to quickly visualize gaps in the commercial market, test scenarios, and understand cost and demographic impacts.
Further collaboration in the Bus Alliance: The West Midlands Bus Alliance is the first of its kind in the UK, and comprises stakeholders from TfWM, bus operators, local authorities and other partners to drive forward bus transport in the region. With redevelopments underway in the south of Birmingham, Solihull, Dudley and others across the West Midlands, Remix will help TfWM and other stakeholders of the alliance collaborate more effectively by using a common platform to discuss plans, ideas, and impacts.
Preparation for the Commonwealth Games: Birmingham will be hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The prestigious event will see a massive influx of visitors to Birmingham, as well as developments in infrastructure across the region. TfWM will be using Remix to begin testing scenarios for how they will adequately transport both athletes and spectators among the athlete’s village and various sporting venues.
Bus Services Act: Remix will help TfWM and the WMCA understand the implications of the powers and opportunities afforded by the 2017 Bus Services Act.