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King's Student Develops Bus Monitor for TfL

Posted on 20/10/2015

Konstantin Draganov, an MSci final year student in the Department of Informatics at King’s College London, has developed a tool in conjunction with Transport for London (TfL) that monitors real time disruptions to London’s bus network. The tool, which was part of his final year project, was so successful that he commenced a five week employment with TfL’s CentreComm to install a permanent, real-time Bus Network Disruption Monitor. The monitor now runs at the CentreComm offices in London, and provides a real-time dashboard visualisation of the top ten disruption problems facing London buses on the network.

Bus Disruption monitor TfL

The Bus Disruption Monitor in situ in TfL’s CentreComm offices where it is used by staff to tell if there has been a disruption to the bus network

 

Since the summer of 2014, the Department of Informatics at King’s College London and TfL Bus Operations have been collaborating to provide innovative solutions to problems faced by TfL. As part of this collaboration, Draganov took on an MSci final-year project with CentreComm under the supervision of Dr Steffen Zschaler from King’s Department of Informatics. CentreComm, managed by Andrew Highfield, is TfL’s central team managing larger-scale disruptions of the London bus network.

Draganov’s project, also aided by TfL’s Technical Services Group through Keith Elliot and Nigel Hardy, was to develop a prototype that could analyse real-time data from the iBus system. This system monitors real-time bus movements in London to identify the most critical disruptions so that they can be more efficiently addressed by CentreComm staff. Draganov sourced information from the Technical Services Group before designing a proof of concept interface that was presented to key stakeholders and formed the basis of his final dissertation report. The proof of concept was so innovative that he was invited to develop the monitor further through a five-week employment at TfL, working with CentreComm and the Technical Services Group.

Steffen Zschaler, senior lecturer in the Department of Informatics at King’s explained: “We are always on the lookout for challenging and engaging projects for our students and this collaboration presents great opportunities. We are very excited to continue and expand the relationship including towards research collaborations.”

Konstantin Draganov

Konstantin Draganov, a former student from the Department of Informatics with the software that he developed to monitor bus disruptions around London

 

Further steps are now in place to continue to provide a fully supported model for use in CentreComm and across Bus Operations and with other stakeholders in the future. TfL Bus Operations and King’s Department of Informatics are already discussing projects for the 2015/16 cohort of Informatics student projects, as well as potential further research and consultancy projects to continue the successful collaboration.

Ken Davidson, Head of TfL Bus Operations added: “This is a great example of collaboration and providing King’s College London students with practical experience of business problems. CentreComm and others have already benefitted from the approach and we are looking at some further fresh projects for the coming year.”

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