Go Ahead Ireland has embarked on an ambitious IT integration programme to transform the management of its fleet, plant and equipment. The operator of bus services in and around Dublin is building a core asset management system based around software from Freeway Fleet Systems. This will provide a single point of visibility into the operation and, through business analytics, give a comprehensive insight into the costs of running the fleet.
With the initial implementation late in 2018, Freeway has already been integrated with Go Ahead’s core financial and bus operations systems; Oracle and uTrack. Now development work is focusing on capturing live data from vehicles and drivers. This involves integration with data terminals running a driver ‘first use check’ app from Tranzaura and data feeds from vehicles via CAN bus using Stratio. The wheel-loss prevention system Wheely-Safe is also being trialled with the intention to gather wheel and tyre pressure data through the Stratio interface.
“From the outset we have taken a holistic view to information technology knowing that we really needed a single view of everything going on,” says Chris Stringer, Engineering Director, Go-Ahead Ireland. “By introducing the latest digital technologies and integrating all of our systems we are gaining a one click view of every part of the operation.”
With the consolidation of data, Go Ahead now have a standard set of outputs that open up huge potential for business analytics. Freeway provides a series of useful standard reports and analytics but for more in depth analysis, Freeway data is exported to Microsoft Power BI.
“As we go along, we suddenly realise there are very significant unforeseen benefits of all this integration. The ultimate aim is to understand costs and with a mixed fleet of older and newer buses as well as diesel, hybrid and new electric models, gaining a truly comprehensive insight into lifecycle costs is our objective. We can then take better informed decisions using what we feel will be the bus industry’s most comprehensive management information system,” Stringer adds.
In engineering, Go Ahead Ireland feels it is important to move away from reactive to proactive fleet maintenance. This involves developing predictive maintenance systems to prevent failures before they happen. The Freeway platform synchronises tablets in the workshop with the central asset management system giving live data on all defects and vehicle status, from ‘the shop floor’.
Through the uTrack integration with Freeway, operations have full visibility of workshop schedules and unplanned VOR situations which minimises the likelihood of unforeseen interruptions to services. With the addition of up-to-date data from driver inspections and fault alerts from buses on the road, Go Ahead Ireland will have greatly improved insight that will further reduce vehicle downtime.
Freeway was first implemented as a system for managing the fleet, but Go Ahead soon realised that the software could be used effectively to manage other assets. So, as well as 217 buses, Freeway handles 1100 other assets, such as ticketing machines, workshop equipment, GPS trackers and an array of facilities-related items. Freeway schedules inspections and staff use tablets to ID scan each asset before completing digital reports, ensuring correct procedures are followed and any compliance is in order.