National Express opts for CitySwift to optimise planning

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Founders Brian O’Rourke, CEO, and Alan Farrelly COO. CITYSWIFT


National Express has announced a deal with CitySwift, a specialist which uses ‘big data’ and machine learning to help drive growth in the public transport sector, which will see the operator using CitySwift’s product suite to help provide enhanced network planning and optimised routes in the region. Through the three year technology investment, CitySwift is also supporting National Express Group’s mission to be the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company.

After a successful initial roll-out, National Express West Midlands said it has extended its relationship with CitySwift and implemented the company’s data-driven scheduling and planning technology, which uses AI, big data and machine learning techniques. By gaining insights through the platform, the bus operator said it can make more informed decisions to match vehicle supply with passenger demand and improve efficiency and reliability, leading to a better overall on-board experience for customers, while also significantly reducing operating costs.
The operator has 1,300 buses in the West Midlands facilitating 150,000 passenger journeys per day. To ensure continued adherence to social distancing requirements, it says CitySwift will enable it to share accurate bus capacity predictions on a stop-by-stop basis, to help passengers make the right journey choices, avoid crowding and feel safer.

Brian O’Rourke, CEO and Co-Founder of CitySwift said: “We’re really pleased that National Express chose to work with CitySwift. Covid-19 has forced the public transport sector to be at its most agile, which has meant the adoption of new working practices and technologies at a pace never before seen.


“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 it uses our technology to ensure vehicle supply matches the demand.”
Chris Gibbens, Commercial Director at National Express West Midlands, added: “As an organisation, we plan to be net-zero by 2030 and CitySwift plays an important role in helping us achieve that. By enabling networks to optimise 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 and 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.”

With the Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place from the 28 July to 8 August next year, CitySwift says its platform will also be supporting National Express West Midlands to help it efficiently and reliably transport visitors to and around the city of Birmingham.
The platform is currently live with 8,500 buses in over 35 cities across the UK, US and Europe, and currently offers three products: SwiftMetrics, which visualises and automatically reports reliability, efficiency and demand metrics, enabling more informed decisions for network development and growth; SwiftConnect, which uses data to help encourage passengers back onto buses safely and uses AI to predict capacity levels for every bus, for any specific date and time; and SwiftSchedule, which helps to accurately predict journey times based on operating conditions and passenger demand, significantly reducing network review timescales and increasing network efficiency.