Smart Mobility

April 18, 2024

'Follow my Bus', real-time tracking to enhance transit experience

At Meep, we're not just revolutionizing urban mobility but redefining it. Our recent advancements, powered by enhanced algorithms and supported by solid proof of concepts and innovative technologies, are ready to go beyond just transportation. Introducing 'Follow my Bus' in Malta's Tallinja mobility app aims to alleviate the stress of waiting for buses by providing real-time tracking of all routes and minimizing uncertainty about arrival times.

Context: Traffic congestion, uncertainty and Malta

Traffic jams are a common headache in cities worldwide, causing stress for commuters. Reducing the anxiety associated with the uncertainty of the ETA (estimated time of arrival) is key to a better public transit experience.

That's why we've chosen Malta, with its well-known traffic congestion, as the ideal testing ground for our solution, 'Follow my Bus.' Like many places, Malta relies on buses for public transport, but ongoing roadworks and limited lanes make sticking to schedules demanding. Additionally, Malta's unique urban layout, characterized by historical streets and limited road space, presents challenges for efficient transportation. However, these characteristics make Malta an excellent place to launch our new feature and improve the digital user journey.

The goal: improve the passenger travel experience

This new feature, 'Follow my Bus', provides passengers with detailed information about the buses they intend to catch, enabling better planning. Drawing inspiration from the user-friendly interfaces of popular ride-hailing and taxi apps, we prioritize visualization and simplicity in presenting real-time bus location data. By incorporating this widely appreciated UX feature into the Tallinja app, we respond to the demands of many daily active users in Malta. This addition fulfills their need for accurate information regarding the whereabouts of their next bus, facilitating last-minute travel decisions. 

Moreover, the flexibility of Meep’s back-end infrastructure allows for seamless integration of this feature into any public transit app, ensuring its potential reach beyond our platform.

How does it work?

Within the application's interactive map, upon selecting any available bus stops, the user can activate the option to "show buses on the map in real-time," allowing them to track the precise location of the buses that will pass through that stop in real-time. Now, it’s possible to visualize how buses approach a particular bus stop.

Bridging the Digital Gap: Modernizing Public Transit with 'Follow my Bus'

This feature is being implemented with excellent feedback and helps reduce the digital gap between more modern modes of transport and public transit. It's fast to integrate into a preexisting software app and only requires the following must-haves:

1. GPS tracking system: Buses must be equipped with GPS devices that continuously transmit real-time location to a central system.

2. Multiband antennas to optimize data communication: Modern buses feature multiband antennas that manage various types of communications, including GPS, 3G, 4G, 5G, and GSM. This ensures stable and reliable communication, providing updated and real-time information about the vehicle's location and trajectory.

3. A data management platform: It collects, stores, and processes data received from bus GPS devices.

4. A passenger application: This app will access the central platform and display real-time information about bus location, estimated arrival times, and possible delays.

This tracking system for end users means reducing the time perception in the waiting period of the journey, which means achieving better public perception of the service and passenger satisfaction. This could be developed by including more details like bus occupancy levels that will meet today's expectations for digital services. Increasing accessibility and convenience to public transport should be one of the priorities for authorities, and now it's a step closer.

Diego Ochoa
Marketing Manager