Recently BAI Communications attended SmartTransit in Philadelphia. SmartTransit is the go-to conference for senior transit industry figures from across the Americas. This year’s event had a focus on how digitalisation and technology is revolutionising transit, from enhanced analytics technologies to real-time passenger information systems.

Shaun Newton, Product Development Manager, Transit Wireless (a BAI Communications majority-owned company) and Aaron Gollegly, Director of 3PO Accounts at SOLiD, our main supplier for cellular equipment in North America, shared insights on smart transit connectivity lessons learned. Transit Wireless, with SOLiD as a key vendor, helped deliver the cellular and Wi-Fi services to 283 NYCT underground subway stations.

“Smart transit is the integrated application of modern technologies and management strategies in transportation systems. It’s important to remember that smart connectivity is not just beneficial for passengers but also critical for staff, trains, and ‘things’, being any kind of device that could be monitored and controlled, such as the Internet of Things (IoT).“ said Shaun.

“This thinking has assisted us to implement innovations such as the use of 360 cameras for designing our wireless solution and deploying train arrival systems, and in making our networks 5G ready.”

At SmartTransit, BAI also showcased its Onboard Network Connectivity Solution (ONCS) via a live demonstration. The ONCS replicates a typical onboard train Wi-Fi experience by placing network equipment on rolling stock along with aggregated high-speed cellular connectivity.

When it comes to bringing Wi-Fi to a large-scale transit system, one of the biggest challenges faced by transit authorities is maintaining seamless connectivity for riders travelling from stations to tunnels, as well as the ability to handle peak loads. In New York and Toronto, more than 850,000 users connect to our cellular and Wi-Fi networks each weekday. The networks need to be able to sustain those peak loads throughout the day and maintain high data speed and a positive user experience.

Conference attendees were able to see the ONCS demonstrated and experience how riders were able to access seamless high-speed connectivity and various online applications onboard trains.

The key takeaways and lessons learnt from the session include the importance of innovative partnerships and funding models, the importance of cyber security, connected assets and infrastructure, maintaining focus on the passenger experience, the importance of up-skilling staff and harnessing the power of big data, and the importance of bridging the digital divide.

About BAI Communications

BAI delivers high-quality communications infrastructure to large-scale transit systems, partnering with and improving outcomes for transit operators and enhancing the travel experience for commuters in New York (Transit Wireless), Toronto and Hong Kong.

Across the globe, BAI has implemented fare card payment solutions, digital asset connectivity, enhanced monitoring and other operational efficiencies for transit authorities. As global communications experts, we design, build and operate connectivity solutions that enable multiple layered applications. Rather than provide a turnkey solution, we align our objectives with that of our transit authority partners, we work together to ensure mutual success.