Connexionz wins contract to connect multiple transit agencies across three U.S. States

Connexionz, a leading provider of smart transit innovations, has been awarded a unique contract to deliver a multi-agency regional passenger information system.

Integrated rural transit solution enhances community mobility, improves traveler experiences, increases driver and passenger safety, improves operational processes and access to important vehicle diagnostics.

The new “iTransitNW” portal and smartphone app will connect several transport networks across three US States to enable passengers convenient access to real-time information on all rural and intercity transit and transfer connections.

Connexionz will initially manage and support seven partner agency fleets, with potential to scale and link up to 18 separate transport operators across Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

valley transit connexionz real time vehicle tracking cad/avl Valley Transit based in Walla Walla County, Washington is the lead agency in the contract. General Manager Dick Fondahn says, “We have an excellent interconnected public transportation network that provides a lifeline for people to important services, such as medical appointments, human services, and government offices. But, despite brochures and websites, transit providers kept receiving feedback from medical providers and social service offices that their patients and clients did not have transportation for appointments, even though a transit service was available.

“Passengers were also saying that they did not understand how to make a transfer from one transit to another and they did not feel ‘safe’ because they did not trust the transfer system would work. Also, with repeated acts of assault against transit operators in cities across the United States, concern is increasing over the security of both transit riders and employees. We needed an integrated solution that would help riders feel more aware and assured of their transit options.”

Valley Transit and its partner agencies wanted a solution that would provide a single point of entry for current riders and prospective customers to access relevant information for where they live and want to go. Accurate bus arrival prediction times would also enable riders to confidently minimize their time spent waiting at bus stops.

With several parties involved in the project and more joining over time, the iTransitNW contract is one of the most thorough proposals ever presented and won by Connexionz.

Connexionz CEO Rhod Pickavance explains, “The solution is based on the TransitManager ITS suite. However, instead of managing just one agency network, the iTransitNW system will manage multiple networks across a wide geographical area. Live data feeds from multiple regional transit operators across the three US states will be captured and shared on both a website and a smartphone app, enabling riders to see all the connecting rural and intercity public transport services in the region.”

The contract includes the provision of on-board technologies for partner agencies with optional add-on services such as multimedia, next stop audio visual alerts, vehicle diagnostics, automatic passenger counting, farebox integration, and more.  Automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems with covert alarms and audio/video capability will also be installed to allow dispatch centers to direct first-responders to the precise real-time location of the bus in the event of an emergency.

“In addition, the system will input feeds from regional agencies that have their own existing real-time service information to provide a fully connected regional transport service,” says Pickavance.

“Our scalable solution makes a regional project quite easy and allows each agency to assemble only the extra parts they need or can afford at one time.  Some agencies in the area may take advantage of features like real time engine diagnostics, onboard media systems, and people counting; while others may elect something as economical as an Android based tracking device.”

Development of the iTransitNW portal and supporting smartphone app is now underway and is expected to go live by mid-2018. Ongoing support and maintenance services including onsite support is also included, together with an extended 3-year warranty period for all software and hardware.

“Connexionz showed they really understood the purpose of this project and the goals that Valley Transit is trying to achieve in developing a regional passenger information system,” says Fondahn.

“They were the most responsive proposer in

valley transit, cad/avl, itransit, itransitnw, connexionz, real time passenger information, washington, idaho, oregon, its, intelligent transportation
Dick Fondahn General Manager of Valley Transit.

demonstrating their understanding of (a) this geographically large regional project made up of many independent transit providers, which include city and county transit agencies, non-profit human service agencies, and tribal transportation systems, and (b) the funding challenges facing Valley Transit in acting as the lead agency for a large number of small transit providers in a rural area covering parts of three states.

“It is unusual that a technology company with a rich set of features and options to suit any large urban transit system is also able to be flexible in offering a cost-efficient solution for small rural transit agencies. This is a larger geographic area, touching more states, and more independent transit providers than done heretofore.  Connexionz prior project success, flexible technology, and willingness to work with a new business model confirmed that theirs is the right solution, at the right cost, and at the right time.”

Valley Transit operates 10 bus routes in the cities of Walla Walla and College Place in Washington, United States, and is one of the four major bus services in the area connecting the region’s cities. The agency connects to several intercity transit routes operated by multiple agencies including: the Travel Washington Grape Line, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Public Bus Service, Columbia County Public Transportation, and the Milton-Freewater City Bus.

Download Press Release

jobs@connexionz

Do you have a background in software development, customer support, field services, government and/or senior sales? If so, we may have positions available in either our Christchurch or United States offices that may be of interest to you.

Current vacancies can be found below:


 

Posted 16th November 2017

We’re currently seeking applications for the position of Software Developer to be based in our Christchurch offices. This newly created position will report to the Engineering Manager and may require some overseas travel from time to time. 

The ideal candidate will have experience or exposure in most or all of the following areas:

  • Android Development using Java or Xamarin/C#
  • SQL queries for Database access
  • Continuous Integration Environment
  • Deployment into Azure or Docker

It would be advantageous if applicants also had experience in the following:

  • HTML 5.0
  • Node.js/Angular frameworks

You will have strong communication skills, be flexible, friendly and above all else you will be expected to fit in with the Company’s ‘can do’ culture. 


Connexionz is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants must possess the necessary work visas to apply. You must be of good character, with a proven, referenceable, work history. Candidates will be required to successfully complete a police background check prior to an offer of employment being made.

We offer a supportive, fun and friendly working environment, combined with flexible working hours (core hours apply) and a competitive employment package.

For further information or submission of applications: jobs@connexionz.us

 

Connexionz Strengthens US Presence – Opens California Office

Based in the Highridge Business Park in the Valencia suburb of Santa Clarita, the spacious office facilities provides the essential services needed to run a critical technology business. The move is a major step in the company’s US expansion strategy which focuses on growth and customer proximity through strengthened local sales and support capabilities. Connexionz US Sales Director Brain Garrett says, “With a large stronghold in California and surrounding States in US, we are opening an office in Santa Clarita to be closer to our customers in a modern environment that gives us agility to meet their needs faster.”

Connexionz is trusted by transit agencies globally for delivering proven and reliable Intelligent Transport System (ITS) solutions. With 20 years’ experience developing innovative bus and ferry applications and modern interchange designs, this month’s opening of Connexionz’s new US office is a welcomed commitment. The company is receiving increasing enquiries from transit agencies across all networks – bus, ferry, train – who are eager to discover how advances in ITS can improve both their fleet performance and customer service, while achieving cost savings through optimized operations and maintenance.

HornBlower’s recent launch of its New York’s City ferry system, for example, is installed with technology developed and managed by Connexionz, including accurate laser-based passenger counting systems, a range of on-board real-time service displays, and passenger infotainment services. The project highlights Connexionz ability to deliver advanced and innovative solutions that can be customized and integrated across multiple networks and markets.

Smart transit innovations with internet enabled technology, real-time tracking systems, and cloud based services are creating a wealth of operational advantages, cost efficiencies and customer service offerings for transit agencies. A global trend towards on-demand and personalized mobility solutions is driving transit agencies to partner with ITS solution experts, like Connexionz, to develop solutions that can connect and integrate seamlessly with multimodal networks.

“We are committed to delivering efficient internet-enabled technologies for transit that make use of the latest innovations in solar, laser, sensors and analytics. Technology that enhances transit services, improves fleet performance with real-time reporting and analytical intelligence, reduces maintenance costs, and increases consumer demand,” says Garrett.

About Connexionz

Connexionz, established in 1996, specializes in delivering comprehensive and fully integrated ITS applications and services to transit agencies, and provides consultancy services for intelligent transit related projects. These include designing systems for smart transit centers and application specific hardware design, development and manufacturing services. To date, the company has delivered systems in Asia, Australasia, Europe, South America, and North America. Connexionz international headquarters is based in Christchurch, New Zealand, with a new North American office in California US and a service team in Virginia US. Visit www.connexionz.us

Contacts

Brian.Garrett@connexionz.us, US Sales Director, Connexionz, US. Tel 719 239 3348 | Cell 309 706 0174

Shelley@CommunicateIT.co.nz, PR Manager, Communicate IT, NZ. Cell +64 21 747 355

Connexionz wins contract to manage New York ferry service

New York commuters eagerly anticipating the launch of the new NYC Ferry operated by Hornblower starting service next month, will be boarding a new transport service integrated with technology developed by Connexionz.

The contract, awarded to Connexionz in a competitive international procurement process, commenced roll out in February and will be completed next month, with on-going service and support until 2022.

Paul Lambson, Head of Customer Success at NYC Ferry says, “We chose Connexionz because of the quality of their technology, capability, and proven performance. And we were impressed with the team’s considerable integration expertise, support, and experience. Overall, Connexionz presented the most convincing and cost-effective proposal.”

Hornblower will manage a total of six routes over 60 nautical miles of waterways, connecting New Yorkers and visitors to the City’s waterfront communities – including neighborhoods, job centers, and parks. Scheduled to commence on May 1st 2017, the new NYC Ferry operated by Hornblower will offer an efficient and affordable way for people to travel between waterfront communities throughout New York City.

Among its customers, Connexionz technology also manages the city bus network and Blackcat ferries in Christchurch, New Zealand, as well as bus and rail services throughout the U.S.

Connexionz will install and manage new highly accurate laser-based passenger counting systems, a range of on-board real time service displays and passenger “infotainment” services for New York’s new Ferry System.

Behind the scenes, Connexionz software will integrate with the vessel engines to manage and monitor engine parameters, such as fuel flow, maintenance schedules and hours of service. In addition, smart data reporting will help Hornblower with fleet maintenance, tracking and service analysis, including on-time performance.

Rhod Pickavance, CEO of Connexionz says, “Since the early 1990’s, we’ve been developing smart transport solutions and our expertise is second to none in transit technologies, communications systems (fixed and wireless), systems integration, consultancy services and transit terminal and exchange technology design. We are very excited to have been awarded the NYC Ferry contract, and to help them provide a quality customer experience, while ensuring optimal maintenance and performance their fleet.”

The solution is based on Connexionz’ TransitManager ITS suite and involves considerable integration with customer specific applications and services. To manage this project, Connexionz has expanded its software development team at its headquarters in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“Our system will initially look after Hornblower’s 20 ferries. We’ll also be installing our equipment on shuttle buses that will take commuters to and from the several ferry terminals throughout Manhattan and Queens,” says Pickavance.

Blog: March 2017. Intelligent Transport Systems – what’s the smarter choice: radio or cellular?

It’s a question we get asked a lot. Which network system should you choose for your smart transport system, a private radio network for reliability and security? Or a cellular network for speed, flexibility, and ease of installation?

There are plenty of articles online to convince you either way. Typically, decisions will be based on weighing up the pros and cons of each network. The traditional benefits of radio over cellular is control, security, and net cost of ownership. This is because a radio network is privately set up and not reliant on a cellular network carrier. Not only do organisations have more control over the network configuration, management and security with radio, the costs are also more predictable than cellular data, which can increase and fluctuate over time.

Cellular, on the other hand, is easier, cheaper to setup (but generally more a more expensive option in the long-term than radio) and more efficient to set up and extend, as the carrier manages and maintains the shared network. Albeit, if you factor in through life costs, the return on investment from a radio system can be realized in a surprisingly short period of time (less than 5 years in most instances), while you generally pay monthly fees to access cellular services. Depending on the loading on the system, cellular services can be offer much higher data rates than conventional private radio systems. But it’s the ‘shared’ part that has people worried when it comes to cellular, for good security and reliability reasons.

While emerging tech can counter these negatives, perhaps the strongest argument against cellular is failure in a disaster.  As we know too well in Christchurch New Zealand, cellular systems will either get overloaded (as members of the public attempt to contact loved ones), fail completely, or eventually run out of power after a major earthquake. Which is why emergency response teams always have radio and satellite backups for their emergency communications.

But how much disruption would a disaster have on an intelligent transport system, and would a radio network really make a difference? Of course, it would depend on the emergency in question, but if, say, your city was affected by a major terrorist explosion, and people needed to be evacuated from the area immediately, then reliable control of your transport system could be critical.

Without doubt the evidence, based on real world disasters, provides a compelling argument against cellular systems.  As it is unlikely that a cellular system would be capable of providing the operational capacity to continue supporting ITS operations after a major local disaster.


CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – A Bus covered in building debris is seen on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand following a major earthquake. First responders were quickly able to locate several buses trapped under fallen debris thanks to the fact buses were tracked using a private radio network, while the region’s cellular networks became congested and largely failed.

Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images


Evolving technology and intelligent transport systems

Technology is constantly evolving however. And there are some exciting new developments happening in the networking and mobile technology space that are creating a world of new opportunities for intelligent transport systems.

In recent years, the emergence of the Internet of Things has gone off the chart. More and more machines are being connected to wireless networks to create and provide new value-added services, or for information sharing and gathering, including electronic signs, bus finders (including our new Bus Finder 2), ticket machines, passenger counters, and more.

As billions of embedded devices are installed in vehicles, consumer and industrial electronic equipment, mobile operators are beginning to play a huge role in smart city services. They are connecting infrastructure and individuals’ handsets to central servers and databases, with data aggregation and analysis to produce new insights, real-time information sent to people and machines, and customer support operations, such as call centres and web portals.

Next generation networks

However, this explosion of machines attached to wireless networks is creating challenges in the congested RF spectrum and high energy consumption. To ensure both spectrum availability and stability of all these new connections, developers are working on standardising fifth generation mobile networks and wireless systems.

It is hoped that by 2020, 5G ‘cognitive radio’ (CR) networks will be able to improve both spectral and energy efficiency by operating like a cross between private radio networks and cellular networks.

These clever networks will converge routing, computing and wireless technologies to enable a multi hop communications network infrastructure. And they will pave the way for future mobile network connectivity and smart-city mobile transport products and services.

With this increasing convergence of technology, perhaps it doesn’t really matter whether you choose a cellular or private radio network. As in a few short years, the technology landscape in our smart cities will look quite different from today, particularly with driverless cars and thousands of data gathering transportation applications clogging the spectrum.

Perhaps a combination of networks is the best answer: a private radio network for mission critical operations, which are typically low-bandwidth applications, and a mobile network for the higher-bandwidth non-critical applications.

Whatever you decide, weigh up which network option best meets your needs and risks today, versus how important it is to invest in using energy efficient, intelligent technology to sustainably enhance the quality of life in your city.

Blog: 9 Feb 2017. The Power of Solar

It’s official. New tech attracts bus customers

Customers who recently installed our new solar BusFinder 2™, have been noticing that bus patrons and passers-by are being attracted to and love playing with new tech!

Apparently, the new interactive wireless solar bus displays are catching peoples’ eyes, and sales figures are confirming that the new tech, together with other new on bus services, is encouraging more people to get on the bus.

Technology allows people to do more than just find a bus

It’s a proven fact that many people are intrigued by new technology, and younger adults especially are more inclined to like trying new technology products.

Technology is quickly changing the ways people seek and get knowledge, communicate and work.  And, with emerging new tech, there’s a huge opportunity for bus system providers to do more than just telling customers when the next bus will be arriving.

Simple measures like providing multimedia information, or adding USB recharging points and WiFi to buses, can provide huge benefit for customers, and exceed their expectations and experiences.

It’s particularly smart when emerging innovations enhances existing tech to create exciting new experiences for customers – often for very little extra cost.

Location based advertizing is a good example. We can create configurable landing pages for individual bus finders, depending on their location or bus route, that can inform people about special events in the area.

Solar tech makes cents

By combining new technology and enhancing customer experiences, we can encourage more people to leave their cars at home, and give more buses a go. And with solar we can help look after our planet better too.

The only limit to what new technology can do to help make our cities smarter and more energy efficient, is our imagination.

Connexionz’s solar BusFinders compliment both existing and future sustainable transport networks and are a very cost effective alternative to hard wired displays. They can interface with existing real time data, and provide real time information at bus stops derived from a wide range of ITS and RTPI platforms.

Installation and upgrading of these robust solar units is quick and easy, and programming is easily done over the wireless network. To enquire about our Busfinders and our latest technology, email sales@connexionz.us.

 

United States Sales Director Announced

Los Angeles, CA – Jan 20, 2016 — Connexionz Limited announced today that they have named Brian Garrett as the company’s new US Sales Director. Prior to joining Connexionz, Brian led the national sales efforts for a competing ITS provider in the United States. Brian will work directly with Connexionz newly named CEO, Rhod Pickavance, to help build upon the growing business successes the company has enjoyed to date in North America (US and Canada).

“With a refreshed focus on system support, diversifying sales channels and building a powerful US Sales and Operations team, Brian was the clear choice for this position.” – Rhod Pickavance, CEO of Connexionz commented. “Brian’s positive energy, dedication, and experience in building and maintaining customer relationships solidify his candidacy to join our sales division. More importantly though – Brian’s deeply entrenched knowledge of Intelligent Transportation Systems and technologies, combined with experience with federal procurement processes made him the clear choice for this position. We are extremely excited to have Brian as part of our team”.

Brian has a strong history in business development and technical sales management over the past ten years.

Brian added, “Joining Connexionz was the ideal next step in a career I’ve dedicated to technology, development, sales and happy customers. Connexionz has the experience and products to make us a stronger competitor in the US market and I am looking forward to sharing our solutions with a much larger market segment.”

Brian is the latest addition to the Connexionz’ staff which is part of the company’s continued expansion to its North American business development and customer support teams.

Lots to look forward to in 2017 !

The coming year is an exciting one for Connexionz. Not only are we to shortly announce that we have secured a number of new customers, but we are also in the final stages of employing a dedicated US sales director to further assist us in building upon the successes the company has enjoyed in the United States over recent years. The company is also continuing its program to further expand our customer support and engineering divisions over the coming months.

As well as welcoming new customers and new staff, the company is in the throws of some major product developments to be released within the next few months.

So watch this space – things are happening, and we’d love you to join us on this exciting journey.

Have a great 2017!!