Telent’s secure digital radio managed service will deliver increased flexibility and performance to support National Express West Midlands bus operations, integrating vehicle systems with its distributed control rooms.
Buses and control rooms across the West Midlands are set to receive transformational communications upgrades over the next 12 months, as Telent has been awarded a contract by National Express West Midlands (NXWM) to implement upgraded Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) communications and services to more than 1,500 buses in the region.
The major contract will cover nine bus depots, including all routes across the West Midlands conurbation. The new communication solution includes the phased replacement of the existing analogue technology and core communications infrastructure currently used in the vehicles, control rooms and associated radio base station sites. Upgrading to a DMR Tier III system will provide NXWM with digital speech clarity and system resilience. It will also deliver enhanced features and the capability to add increased functionality to meet business needs.
The long-term contract, valued at an estimated £14 million GBP will be provided as a managed services agreement. The migration will be fully managed and delivered by Telent and includes GPS positional tracking, emergency call prioritisation, status messaging, ticket machine integration, dynamic group call allocation and smartphone PTT application.
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“As an engineer who has been working on analogue and digital communication solutions, and in particular this customer, for more than 35 years, I am thrilled that Telent will be playing such an integral part in modernising public transport in the West Midlands,” commented Solutions Architect at Telent, Adrian Philips. “It is essential that public transport receives the most up to date and sophisticated technology, and by migrating to DMR systems, this will ensure that buses in the region stay fully connected and maintained.”
Telent is partnering with radio solutions manufacturer, Tait Communications for the migration from analogue to DMR technology. The new radio systems will be initially deployed in analogue mode. When all vehicles in the fleet have been upgraded with the new technology, the system will be switched over to digital mode. This will ensure minimal disruption to regular bus services, and a seamless transition for the customer’s end users.
National Express West Midlands’ Operation Technology Manager, Steve Smith said: “When identifying suppliers to work with for this major upgrade project, we identified Telent’s fully managed service as, in our opinion, the most comprehensive and reputable solution. Working with Telent as a long-term partner will enable us to take advantage of the latest and most innovative radio technology for our fleet, which is critical to the smooth delivery of our operation and quality of service to our customers. The transition will increase overall passenger and bus driver experience by providing added protection on all of our bus services."
The initial roll out of the upgrades will start later in 2022. As the biggest bus operator in the West Midlands and one of the largest in the UK, NXWM services are used by more than 2.8 million people across the region.
Telent has an impressive background in large fleet deployments, and is currently working with the Ambulance Radio Programme to deploy next-generation Mobile Data communications upgrades in ambulances across England and Wales.