Key features

  • Transport data API integration
  • Map-based area selection tool
  • List-based bus stop / route selection interface
  • Excel export modelled on the existing process for seamless implementation
  • Secure user login and account system

Bus Route Data Exporting Tool

Back in 2017, we were approached by an organisation that provides route solutions for public transport services on a national scale. They wanted to digitise a particular stage in their workflow that was becoming a timesink.

Before we introduced automation into the process, each job that our client picked up required up to two days of preparation before they could deliver anything to their clients.

The process involved manually analysing scribble-annotated maps to curate data on bus routes, stops and timetables within a specific window for their client's local area, and manually entering everything into an Excel spreadsheet before any data could be processed or solutions could be offered.

We decided that the new system should allow the client to easily mark out an area of operation, pull all bus route information for that area, then export the data in spreadsheet format — this kind of automation would speed up the process significantly, enabling them to move forward with the highly-skilled aspect of their work.

With the new tool at their disposal, our client now has greater confidence in the accuracy of their work and, whilst maintaining the same team size, have reported completing the work up to eight times faster than ever before.

Area of Operation Plotting and Pruning

By hosting a number of discovery workshops and discussions on the nature of their work, we found that their use case required a more sophisticated solution than a simple postcode lookup.

Because their work revolved around disruptions to standard traffic — roadworks and closures, for instance — that weren’t necessarily confined to a particular postcode, a bespoke map-based selection tool was more appropriate for their requirements.

The resultant solution lets users click to draw polygonal areas of operation on a map, making selecting the area they are interested in a simple, visual top-down process. Once submitted, all route data inside the area is complied. By drawing a polygon, they were able to accurately outline the affected area.

The user can then prune the data before exporting it to Excel by unmarking checkboxes on both each stop individually and on routes as a whole, making it easy to remove data they aren’t interested in, saving on time and reducing errors. When the user is happy that all valuable data has been selected, the data can be exported on a single click.

API-Fed Public Transport Data

The cloud-based software retrieves the locations of all bus stops within the defined area via an API, and maps all routes going through that stop. For each bus route, the software also fetches timetables in time windows specified by the users. The process of fetching data from the API is completed in a matter of seconds, cutting massively on the hours spent on gathering the data manually and on the risk of human error.

Export and Handover Pack Generation

All data pulled from the API are downloadable in an Excel-compatible format, designed specifically to fit our client’s existing template without upsetting the original process — we merged the automation perfectly without disruption.

Because we matched the output exactly to how they presented the data in the original Excel spreadsheets, the surrounding stages of their process could remain completely unchanged. This meant that minimal additional training was required to use the solution, so it could be incorporated into our client’s business on delivery, creating a rapid return on their investment.

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