Traveline South West has chosen ServerSpace to host its public transport data platform, enabling it to deliver new mobile services and reduce costs by 25 percent after combining infrastructure with other Traveline operations across the country.
Like its counterparts in other parts of the UK, non-profit organisation Traveline South West provides members of the public and local authorities with a range of services to help plan journeys. Services provided include an online route planner, SMS updates and mobile apps offering information such as journey times or real time updates on bus arrival times.
Around 30 GB of schedule data is collected each day for Traveline South West by local authorities and travel operators for 52,000 bus stops. This is compiled alongside data from other regions such as East Anglia, the South East and East Midlands, by German company MDV. The data is then delivered to Traveline South West's web servers, which are updated weekly, with additional updates enabled for unforeseen changes to services.
Traveline previously used Atos for its server hosting, following a European contract tender in 2010. This involved hosting one server for monitoring and managing, as well as two for web delivery. However the organisation found that the contract, held in place by the Department for Transport (DfT) to run the Transport Direct service, did not allow for the organisation to meet growing demand of its features such as the journey planner.
While the virtualised server hosting as part of a DfT contract did not involve charges for Traveline, data development manager at Traveline South West, Andy Hole, said that the setup meant that changes to systems were difficult to facilitate.
"Our server delivery before ServerSpace was Atos, through the DfT contract, and there was no annual charge for it, so on the cost side it was very good," he explained. "But we couldn't put applications on and anything that we wanted to change took a long time, taking around six months to get changes to the firewall."
One of the problems was the ability to deploy applications such as its NextBus app on the hosted servers. Government commitments to providing a journey planning service targeted at spectators using public transport during the London Olympics meant that server capacity was prioritised for enabling 100 percent availability during the event. This meant that additional space was unavailable for Traveline South West to meet growing demand.
"We wanted to migrate functions from the TD servers across to our Traveline servers in Atos, and they couldn't do it, because there was a block on any changes because of the Olympics," Hole said.
"We outgrew them really, and as we were growing we couldn't get them to make the hardware grow in the same size, although it was actually virtual servers at the time. They couldn't keep up with us or keep with the demands."
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