Transport Dept dishes out £1.9m rail database deal to Capita

DB admin checks passenger numbers, interior carriage volume ... faints


The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded Capita Symonds a contract for a rail passenger counts database system, worth £1.9m.

The database will allow all train operating companies (TOCs) to upload data about the number of passengers on train services into a single, standardised, database.

"The data will then be used by DfT for statistical purposes and to monitor trains, demand and crowding. Each TOC will be able to access data for their own services for monitoring and operational purposes. Data can also be shared with third-parties when the relevant TOC has agreed to the sharing," a spokesman for the department told Government Computing.

DfT published a tender in the Official Journal of the European Union for the five-year deal in February 2010. The original estimated contract value was £3m.

The department said the procurement is part of a drive for the increased automation of passenger counting technology on trains. The database, which should be operational in early 2013, will provide a range of information on the numbers using rail services, which the government hopes will enhance the planning information available to the industry.

The original tender notice said that in conjunction with other data sources, passenger counts data has the potential to fill significant gaps in the DfT's current understanding of passenger usage patterns.

Capita's solution will be expected to capture and store passenger counts data supplied by TCOs and allow data from other data sources to be imported and linked to count data. The firm will also be expected to externally host and maintain the database.

Commenting on the contract award, Josh Hewer, transport analyst at public sector market intelligence firm Kable, said: "This contract award to Capita reflects not only that the eventual winners of the future rail franchises will have to prove that they are improving the conditions of commuters, but also the importance of ICT in facilitating this."

This article was originally published at Government Computing.

Government Computing covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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