Whippet is part of the Ascendal Group, a global business whose goal is to bring cities to life by implementing world-class solutions that change how public transportation is perceived, accepted, and delivered. Whippet’s aim is to operate reliable, reasonably-priced transport services driven by friendly drivers. It runs local buses and FLiXBUS services to Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Bradford, and London.
“The use of big data to understand our operating environment as we return in a very different world is something that CitySwift has been able to make happen almost effortlessly. It helps us to plan and develop in ways we never thought possible.” - Gary Forbes Burns, Operational Support Manager, Ascendal Group
SCATTERED, INCOMPLETE DATA ACROSS SPREADSHEETS
Whippet’s network planning team were struggling to work with a range of dispersed data sources. With no other option, the team juggled multiple large and complex Excel spreadsheets, often containing data gaps that the team could do nothing about.
This raw and incomplete data made it difficult to spot problem areas within Whippet’s network, and the team were often caught off guard when issues arose. The manual nature of analysing these spreadsheets made the process of generating and sharing monthly reports a repetitive and time consuming task for the team.
ONE PLACE TO OVERSEE MOBILITY PATTERNS AND NETWORK PERFORMANCE
Partnering with CitySwift, Whippet has access to all network data in one place, featuring easily shared reports and data visualisations for at-a-glance reading. CitySwift’s technology ingests and cleans Whippet’s ticketing, scheduling, and AVL data, before presenting this data back to Whippet in an easy-to-access and user-friendly platform.
These three sources of data vastly improve the integrity of the output – for example, by relying on ticketing GPS, where the AVL lags. The combination of these data sources give rise to new insights too. Since the data can identify where a bus is (AVL), and where it ought to be (schedule), CitySwift can infer punctuality. The ticketing data provides information on how long the bus is selling tickets at a stop, so CitySwift can show needed and unneeded dwell time – i.e. how long the bus is waiting at the stop necessarily and unnecessarily.
CitySwift offers Whippet drill-down insights into punctuality, reliability, and passenger demand. This gives Whippet a clear, immediate picture of what’s happening across its network, enabling informed decisions and empowering the network planning team to react rapidly to changes in demand, or emerging mobility patterns.
In particular, CitySwift’s Explore platform has allowed the team to analyse patterns and trends during the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring better network planning to support social distancing and the travel needs of healthcare and key workers
The use of big data to understand our operating environment as we return in a very different world is something that CitySwift has been able to make happen almost effortlessly. It helps us to plan and develop in ways we never thought possible. To say our team is excited is an understatement. - Gary Forbes Burns, Operational Support Manager, Ascendal Group
A NEW ERA OF DATA-DRIVEN NETWORK PLANNING
CitySwift has powered Whippet to investigate and examine their bus network, ensuring operations are as efficient as possible, while also significantly boosting network reliability and service performance.
Whippet’s network planning team now has a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of network performance. Access to a wide range of accurate demand and efficiency metrics has enabled the team to review historical data, and use these insights to track KPIs and plan for the future. Reports are now generated and exported within minutes, previously taking days or weeks to produce.
Reports that were produced monthly are now created and shared with stakeholders, such as local authorities, on a daily basis. This gives every stakeholder, not just the network planning team, current information, and ensures everybody is working from the same single source of data.
What’s next for CitySwift and Whippet?
While continuing to easily monitor network performance using CitySwift’s data analysis and data visualisation technology, the team will expand their use of CitySwift into journey runtimes. The team at Whippet will use CitySwift to run existing schedules against CitySwift’s analysis of their network performance, and generate improved journey times automatically. These journey times will ensure Whippet delivers a reliable, punctual service to passengers while maximizing the efficiency of resources and cost savings for the team internally.