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Traveline South West selects ServerSpace to support demand for public transport info

Matthew Finnegan | April 19, 2013
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 servers with other areas across the country.

After considering other hosting suppliers such as Logica and Virgin Media, Hole decided to migrate its delivery platform to ServerSpace as part of a five year contract, hosting servers in its data centre in London.

The migration itself was done over a number of months after going live with ServerSpace in October 2012, running concurrently on the Atos servers in order to ensure continuity of service.

"The one big challenge was the change of DNS because we couldn't split the load so that it went over from our old web servers to the new web servers as an overnight change," he said.

"We had the servers built in ServerSpace for about a month while we were still dual running. So we would update the three servers in ServerSpace - one cockpit server for monitoring and managing, and then two web delivery servers, and in Atos we had the same environment."

He added: "We updated all of the servers six for about a month, and then half way through we turned the DNS over and it was a seamless transfer overnight, without any complaints."

In January the switchover from the three other Traveline regions, South East, East Anglia and East Midlands was completed, with the number of delivery servers doubling to four. It was also possible to put the NextBuses app onto the servers two weeks later, Hole said.

The combining of services has meant that running costs through the organisation can be reduced by 25 percent, which is reflected in the Traveline SouthWest budget for payments to local authorities.

Following the move to ServerSpace and the combining of servers with other regions, the amount of traffic being handled has substantially, with around half a million web visits a day are now managed.

The number of departure board enquiries made through the mobi site and applications has also shot up. Monthly API use has increased by 182 percent in the past 12 months, Hole said, up from 211,877 departure board requests from around 75,000 the previous year.

Going forward Traveline South West is now looking at developing a number of other applications to further improve its service.

"We are now in a partnership with Plymouth University where they are going to build an app for 'smart' journey planning," Hole said. "It has got some futuristic uses where the application will actually pay for your ticket, and will let the driver know your name before you board the bus, as well as letting the bus know what stop to pick you up at.

"It will also inform you what stop to get off at and ring the bell for you. That is the aspiration."

 

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