DART: Darwin Alerts and Reports Tool

DART (Darwin Analysis and Reporting Tool) is LOROL’s operations dashboard that interfaces to the Darwin API to provide key staff with alerts of delayed, cancelled and amended trains and to allow analyses Controller performance.

LOROL are the train operating company responsible for transporting 184 million passengers per year through 112 stations via the London Overground. LOROL works closely with TFL (Transport for London) to keep London moving on a daily basis.

Our close relationship with LOROL has seen the creation of a number of projects, including the Lorolpedia Customer Intelligence App, the Driver App and DART.  DART is a live monitoring, analysis and reporting tool that has helped to improve the Darwin information flow from the LOROL Control Operations staff and has streamlined service analysis procedures.

The Task

Darwin is the Great Britain rail industry’s official train service information engine. Darwin provides real-time arrival and departure predictions, platform numbers, delay estimates, schedule changes and cancellations. Most online channels are powered by Darwin data, including all National Rail Enquiries products, retailing websites such as trainline and redspottedhanky, as well as the digital products made by independent and commercial developers.

The LOROL Control team is responsible for providing customers with train alteration information through their station customer information systems or Darwin Workstation whenever cancellations, alterations or known delays occur. This information is fed directly into Darwin, the National Rail Enquiries real-time timetable database, which provides direct updates to National Rail Enquiries journey planners, feeds and linked customer information systems. In the event of a service issue, LOROL Control staff would need to complete a system log. However, the process of recording a system log was a manual process, which was heavy with paperwork. This meant that the process of recording a system log could often take hours to complete. London Overground needed a digital system which could perform the service analysis quickly and would increase the speed of Darwin information delivery.

The Approach

Before DART there wasn’t a similar system available for railway staff to perform fast analysis and allow Darwin information to be sent in a timely fashion. Therefore not only was DART to be a completely bespoke system, but it also had to a piece of pioneering software that would lead the way for any similar future systems.

DART is a bespoke dashboard created by us for LOROL which provides a visual real time system to provide railway service information in both a dashboard and map form.

 

There were a number of important consideration points that we had to cater for when designing DART, one of these being the integration of LOROL’s existing systems into DART. LOROL use a number of different digital customer service tools to ensure that they run a steady service, these include the Lorolpedia customer intelligence app and Orinoco. It was very important that the DART dashboard integrated with these to allow seamless delivery of information to staff. The DART dashboard provides the user with Orinoco updates and updates from the TfL Twitter feed, allowing users to access real-time, up-to-the-minute service information.

 

 

Due to the fact that the user interface displays a lot of information on one screen, it was important that the design was as uncluttered and as clear as possible. The user interface was designed to replicate a basic grid structure which allows information from different sources to be clearly viewed by the user. This design ensures an improvement in information flow and allows for information to be accessed quickly and easily.

 

 

Once service information was accessed, staff needed a simple and quick way to perform system logs. To do this, we removed the entire manual aspect of the task and integrated all of the paperwork into a digital database. This now means that the correct forms are much faster to access and system logs can be performed quickly, allowing important service information to be sent far more quickly than before.

To improve the flow of information, we designed the user-interface to be streamlined and functional, with a clear and comprehensive layout. This has ensured that all the different types of information that drivers needed to access was clearly visible and easy to access.

To speed up the system log process, we integrated the previous paperwork database into the digital system. This means that through the Driver App, drivers are now able to easily access all of the existing LOROL forms and reports in digital format, which has helped to speed up the information flow from the office to the drivers and from driver to driver.

The Result

 

Since the implementation of DART, LOROL’s Control Team have benefited from completely removing the manual paperwork aspect of system logs from their process. Not only has this meant that the process now takes much less time to carry out, but it has also allowed system analysis to be a much easier task.

 

 

DART has also helped to keep the Control Team much more informed as to service information. Due to the DART dashboard’s steady stream of real-time information, LOROL’s Control team have benefitted from being up-to-date by the minute with service information which has allowed them to streamline the delivery of information to their station staff, boosting their customer service at the station.

Moving Forward

We continue to assist LOROL with ongoing technical support for any technical queries or issues they may have. We have been on hand in helping the continuous growth of the Driver App in addition to providing them web hosting services and assisting them in the development of a number of other projects we have worked with them on, including the award winning Lorolpedia app and the Driver app.

 

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