One year after: SMART Real-time IT system in Oulu helps bus operator save time

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18 October 2016, Oslo – One year after the city Oulu in Finland installed FARA’s efficient and robust IT system that tracks public transport live, the bus operator OuBus is saving time. OuBus is saving 3-4 minutes on their 15-minute route with FARA’s traffic light priority system. FARA’s system handles traffic light priority at all traffic lights in the region. This helps buses that are late stay on schedule and raises the value of public transportation for travelers.

“The traffic light priority system makes it possible to match and control transfer points and times with other lines. This has helped the bus operator save time,” says Harri Vaarala, traffic engineer in Oulu.

FARA, the leading provider of SMART electronic ticketing and travel information for public transport, has developed a system so both passengers and operators get accurate, real-time information on the whereabouts of a bus.

“Now you know exactly where the bus is in Oulu and when it will leave, just what people want to know. SMART real-time accurate information is the future of travel,” says Ørjan Kirkefjord, CEO, FARA. “With cities becoming more populated, it is important to have SMART real-time IT systems on different platforms for the passenger to plan their journey and handle unexpected delays. FARA’s system does exactly that.”

The public transport passenger numbers in Oulu have simultaneously increased by 11.5% from the corresponding period (January – June) last year.

Oulu, in Finland, is one of the first cities to install this SMART information system. Passengers can track their public transport live on maps on screens at 41 bus stops, on passengers’ smartphones and on websites. They show real-time information about delays, expected bus stop departure times etc. The screens at the bus stops can also be used for announcements and advertisement.

With FARA’s technology and maintenance, 140 busses send accurate location updates every second to the display screens at bus stops, and to public transport authorities, traffic controllers and traffic contractors. This information creates a seamless travel experience for the passengers, and makes it possible for the operator to monitor, control and improve the service. FARA has delivered the SMART solution, is contracted to maintain the system until 2021 and sees this as a first step into the future of the Mobility as a Service platform.


Drivers use on-board tablets with 7-inch screens to select their next journey. As they drive, the tablet displays a map showing the journey’s progress, as well as information about staying on schedule. The tablet gets its location from GPS and Glonass satellites and sends this to the central system using the 3G network. The system also makes it possible to send messages about service interruption straight from the vehicle to the bus stops. FARA installed 140 of these vehicle devices in Oulu.

Open Source Solution

FARA’s SMART technology and web-based services provide real-time data about the stops and lines. It is available through an open SIRI- and GTFS interfaces. In Oulu this open source is now integrated into a single traffic information service for all transportation modes: where Real-time information is linked and can be accessed via: This web site uses the travelers’ location to provide route guides, and gives up-to-date information about traffic conditions for various forms of travel including bikes and cars, and delays and connections to flights and trains etc.

FARA’s SMART portfolio is a fully integrated solution with everything passengers need to plan their journey, buy their tickets and stay updated about their trip real-time. SMART helps drivers do a better job with on-board ticketing and validation, passenger information and real-time tracking of the vehicle. Real-time views of the bus route status for traffic monitors, operators, public transport controllers and authorities ensure quality throughout the journey. FARA’s SMART portfolio is made for the future as all these interconnected services are in the cloud.