The market for Intelligent Transport Systems for Europe’s bus and tram operations is growing at a rate of 15% a year, according to a new report.

The market value for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) deployed in bus and tram operations in Europe was €0.65bn (£0.56bn) in 2010, according to ITS in Public Transport, a new report from analyst firm Berg Insight. Growing at an annual growth rate of 15%, this figure is expected to reach €1.3bn (£1.1bn) by 2015. The Gothenburg-based experts believe that the outlook for the European public transport ITS market is positive, although individual markets may experience temporary fluctuations depending on the political climate and local developments.

“The ongoing deregulation of the public transport market in Europe spurs the adoption of sophisticated intelligent transport systems”, explains Rickard Andersson, telecom analyst at Berg Insight. “The increasing number of companies and organisations involved in fulfilling public transport needs puts mounting demands on system compatibility and open interfaces for information flows to enable for example synchronised real-time passenger information for intermodal services”

Additionally, Andersson anticipates growing influence in this market from OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) as public transport vehicle manufacturers install factory-fitted, on-board computers with GPS positioning and wireless communication functionality (see story below).

The term ITS refers to information and communication technology applied to transport infrastructure and vehicles. Berg Insight’s definition of ITS for public transport includes systems which are installed in buses and trams as well as at terminals, stops and similar. Included are also back office IT systems which ensure that public transport services can be planned, scheduled and managed to achieve efficient operations. An important part of ITS for public transport is further solutions providing travellers with updated information about routes, departure times, possible disturbances and connecting services. The history of these different types of solutions dates back several decades and current state-of-the-art solutions include, for example, real-time intermodal journey planners, automated fare collection systems using smartcards, and on-board infotainment solutions with information about nearby points of interest.

Approximately 60 billion public transport passenger journeys are carried out every year in the EU27. The economic value of public transport services in Europe amounts to €130-150bn per year.

Berg Insight believes that the European market for ITS for public transport is in a growth phase which will last for several years to come. The total market value for public transport ITS for buses and trams is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15%, putting it on course to exceed £1bn for the first time in 2015.

The penetration of on-board computer units with GPS location functionality and wireless communication in buses and trams is just one example of a rapidly expanding ITS sub-sector. It is estimated to increase from 30% in 2010 to 48.3% in 2015.

The key providers
Berg Insight’s report profiles the group of international aftermarket solution providers which has emerged as the leaders on the European market for public transport ITS. The dominant providers are INIT, Trapeze ITS and IVU, all based in the German speaking region and having substantial installed bases across a multitude of countries.

Examples of companies with major market shares in national markets in Europe include INEO Systrans, which holds a leading position in France, and Vix Technology, a major vendor in the UK market. Vix has recently united its ERG and ACIS operations under a single brand and claims that its combined offering can transform the way people commute by making it easy for people to identify, use and pay for public transport.

Commenting on the report from Berg Insight, Peter Eccleson, Vix director of UK region said: “The predicted growth in public transport ITS is great news for the industry which is key to providing accurate, timely and integrated information to the travelling public. Vix is excited at the opportunities this may present in the drive to get more people out of their cars and onto public transport.”

Other providers identified by Berg as significant in the UK’s public transport ITS market are 21st Century, GreenRoad, MiX Telematics and Omnibus.

Other important players in Europe include the Spanish company groups GMV and Grupo Etra, Swarco’s subsidiary Mizar in Italy, the Norwegian company FARA and the German provider PSI Transcom.

The outlook for ITS
The conclusion from Berg Insight is that outlook for the European public transport ITS market is positive, as several major developments foster increased adoption of such technologies. The continent-wide deregulation of the public transport market creates a need for technologies which can handle the increasingly burdensome task of providing synchronised passenger information. International public transport related initiatives such as the EU project EBSF (European Bus System of the Future) are also likely to increase the ITS adoption.

Other contributing developments include UITP’s sought-after doubling of the public transport ridership by 2025, increasing environmental awareness and decreasing costs for ITS.

Growing OEM influence
All of Europe’s major bus manufacturers have initiatives related to OEM bus telematics, but they use very different strategies, Berg Insight’s ITS in Public Transport report observes.

Scania offers the same telematics features for buses as for the trucks, and MAN is planning to introduce a similar offering. Daimler has introduced a modified version of its fleet management system for trucks, adapted to better suit bus customers, while Iveco, with the Irisbus brand, collaborates with third party suppliers when fulfilling customer requirements for ITS. Volvo, in turn, offers functionality not only for conventional telematics and fleet management applications, but also real-time passenger information and traffic management.

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