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Nobody noticed anything

Combitech helped the Stockholm public transport system to migrate its radio network without affecting passengers.

Every day close to 800,000 people in the Stockholm region use the public transport system, which includes the metro, buses, commuter trains and local trains as well as boats in the summertime.

To ensure the traffic keeps flowing, the communications solution used by the control centre and drivers is of fundamental importance. In 2012 the Traffic Committee [Trafiknämnden ] issued a tender to modernise its radio network. Parts of the existing equipment had reached the end of their service life, and there was a need to improve the availability, coverage and cost efficiency of the equipment. In addition, the committee wanted a common radio network to replace its two existing networks.

 

Many challenges
Combitech’s experience of complex communications solutions was put to good use.

"We understood both the customer’s business and the importance of migrating the equipment without affecting the traffic and passengers," says Ulf Lundberg, business development manager. "During rush hour the control centre communicates with 2,500 drivers, hosts and service personnel in the field. That tells you something about the challenges of the assignment."

The modernisation began in autumn 2012 and continued for a year and a half. A pilot project ran on a single tram line to test the newly developed radio network, so that any teething problems could be ironed out. The major migration took place on 17 June 2013.

"It was a critical night; just imagine what could have happened to public transport if the system hadn’t worked properly in the morning – there would have been chaos!" says Alexander Storm, consultant and radio network manager. "But we were well prepared after one and a half years of the assignment, so everything went well. We didn’t need to use the back-up plan."

Consultants with the right skills
The result is an integrated communications solution that is easy to maintain. Administration is simpler than before, and now, with only one network in which everyone speaks the same language, fewer subcontractors are needed. All in all, it will be much cheaper.

"What made the project so successful was that we had just the right type of resources," says Stefan Brood, project manager at the public transport authority in Stockholm County Council. "The project was extremely time-critical. The fact that we brought in consultants with the right skills was a critical factor in its success."

 

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