Sydney Harbour Passenger Information Upgrade

Delivered January 2019

Project Information


Transdev Sydney Ferries


Sydney, NSW


January 2019

Project Overview

Ferries have been used as public transport in Sydney for over 160 years, with the service now featuring a fleet of 32 vessels.  The service offers a convenient daily commute and an iconic tourism experience.  With passenger journeys exceeding 15 million annually, Transdev Sydney Ferries who has been operating the service since 2012 had the opportunity to improve the passenger journey experience and provide relevant real-time data for all scenarios.  4Tel tendered to provide a fully compliant, turn-key solution to support Transdev’s vision.  4Tel was chosen due to its prior experience with real-time tracking for other transport operators, its ability to implement hardware agnostic, scalable solutions and its proven technical background delivering bespoke solutions for transport.

Scope of Work

Transdev already used multiple technology systems to manage service operations and 4Tel was conscious to avoid adding additional complexity.  It was key for 4Tel to understand Transdev Sydney Ferries operations in detail. Observing the management of Transdev services from planning through to end of day was important.  Things that were considered were how timetable changes are managed, how vessel and wharf crews interact, and what were the sticking points for passengers, etc.

The primary objective was to provide assurance in consistent, reliable ferry location information.  Ferry tracking needed to be to the minute to deliver timely and accurate information to passengers and operational crews.

The design needed to consider that passenger information workflows needed to align with Transdev operational processes.  In addition to Transdev’s requirements, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) was seeking to implement a consistent user interface for passenger information across all public transport in the state.

The real-time information generated by 4Tel was to be made available to integrate into TfNSW’s data hub for third party applications.  This provides seamless information to passengers moving between transport modes using their chosen travel app or source.

Existing hardware needed to be used where possible to minimise disruption to operations during deployment.  By repurposing what was already in place, capital expenditure was reduced and the project scope could focus on integration.

Key deliverables included:

  • Proven, low risk 4Trak software to track mobile assets, with the option of also integrating the tracking of other vessels in the vicinity of Sydney Harbour
  • Importing Transdev crew schedule timetables to enable the monitoring of ferry performance versus timetable
  • Timetable creation, edit and release facilities
  • A comprehensive reporting suite, plus the option of customised reports
  • Comprehensive schematic map of the ferry routes on Sydney Harbour
  • Automatic calculation of ferry performance against timetable
  • Secure remote access via mobile applications (iOS and Android) for operations staff
  • Deployment flexibilities to client requirements

Outcomes & Achievements

The final solution supports open system interfaces and is compatible with existing Transdev Sydney Ferries infrastructure.  Our 4Trak and 4PIDs software were customised to meet Transdev’s needs.

    • The 4Trak solution provides the ability to share real-time vessel timetable information to 4PIDs software.  4PIDs software then presents the information on passenger information display screens found on each ferry and wharf to provide travellers with a consistent source of up-to-date information and to ensure they board the correct vessel.


    • The implementation of 4Trak as a tracking system meant gate hands and crew would no longer need to physically look over the wharf to confirm when vessels were approaching. Now, staff could confidently confirm vessel information via a passenger information display or computer terminal for passengers before a ferry arrived, delivering an enhanced user experience.


    • The new system allowed for safety procedure videos to be displayed on the passenger information displays aboard each ferry, minimising interruptions to passengers and giving crew more time to attend to their duties on each vessel. Safety videos were also locally hosted onboard each ferry’s server, ensuring a seamless and uninterrupted video stream.


    • For network control personnel, a single interface allowed Transdev staff to centrally manage real-time information, with built-in varying levels of authority to maintain security. Personnel were now able to focus on key decision making with a consistent single source of information shared by staff and passengers.


    • Vessel tracking and timetables, including the ability to visually track and trace vessels on a digital map can be accessed through a web browser, making information accessible to any staff with login credentials and an internet connection.


4Tel followed through on its promise to supply, design, install, test and commission a real-time tracking and passenger information management system for Transdev Sydney Ferries on time and within budget.

“By centralising the capture and sharing of information, we have successfully improved the operation of Australia’s iconic passenger ferry service. Real-time tracking allows for seamless operations in our day-to-day services and future innovation opportunities. Most importantly, this solution delivers on our passenger journey promise.”

Transdev Sydney Ferries

Worker viewing 4Trip
A worker using the 4Trak browser interface