Project Description

DART (Darwin Alerting and Reporting Tool) provides real-time information for London Overground station staff to improve customer service at stations.

Client

Arriva Rail London (previously LOROL) is the train operating company responsible for running the London Overground network under a Concession Agreement with Transport for London (TfL). TfL and Arriva Rail London work closely to deliver high quality rail services. This project was delivered in partnership with rail specialist agency Jnction.

Client brief

Railway control teams are responsible for alerting customers with train alteration information through their station customer information systems or Darwin workstation whenever cancellations, alterations or known delays occur.

The client required a digital system that would provide up-to-the-second service disruption alerts and would speed up the recording of system logs by automating the reporting process and removing manual systems.

DART (Darwin Analysis and Reporting Tool) is a real-time monitoring and notification system that enables their staff to track performance of a network with 1149 trains serving more than 520,000 passengers per day.

User benefits

  • DART saves valuable time by performing continuous background tests of complex systems with analysis and reporting without the need for spreadsheets
  • DART records and stores every event in Darwin for the entire Train Operating Company network in a historical database
  • DART enables better decision-making in PIDD and cancellation situations by helping to eliminate guesswork
  • DART allows historical analysis of train performance for any past date saved in the database.

Features

  • Visual real-time system displays railway service information in the form of a dashboard and map
  • Real-time train position monitoring
  • Additional data feeds can be added and overlaid, including: signalling, train positioning, in- house data and major events.
  • Streamlined custom user-interface
  • Key metrics reports
  • Fully customisable analysis and reports
  • Integration of existing digital customer service systems into DART
  • Live updates from Twitter feeds

Technology

DART interfaces with the National Rail Enquiries API to create reporting and visualisation. We DART in object-orientated PHP on AWS Cloud Compute using Centos and a AWS RDS (MySQL) database server backend. The user front-end leverages vector graphics to provide customer-facing on-the-fly line diagrams and leverages Google Maps API for train location display.

DART reporting provides both real-time and historic analysis of train failures to meet public standards using Google Charts API. A live dashboard provides control room staff with Twitter, TfL, National Rail and other data alongside current live alerts. DART also needed custom code to provide SOAP access to the National Rail staff system and XML to JSON translation.

Success story

London Overground implemented DART in early 2016. Since then the London Overground control team has benefited from completely removing the manual analysis of system logs from their process. Not only has this meant that the process now takes minutes rather than hours, but it has also streamlined the task enabling a much wider range of reports to be produced immediately.

Code extract

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Sample screenshots