System for Advanced Management of Public transport Operations

SAMPO was a European demonstration project in the domain of Transport Telematics, undertaken in the period 1995-1997.

The main goal of SAMPO was to assess and demonstrate the value added potential and the effectiveness of telematics technologies to provide Demand Responsive Transport Services (DRTS).

The project developed public transport services in rural and urban areas and regions, addressing the needs of the general public, as well as the specific necessities of different passenger categories, such as elderly, disabled and other special groups.

An important objective was to reduce operating costs of public transport services by the implementation of more flexible schemes for service operations.

The aim of DRT systems is to provide service "on demand" from the passengers. DRTs are undertaken in a variety of modes i.e. buses, taxis, invataxis (specially equipped for mobility impaired persons), minibuses and feeder services for express coach, tram and rail services. Services can also be integrated between different modes.

The telematics systems for operation of a DRT are based upon the organisation and operation of Travel Dispatch Centres (TDC). The users connect to the TDC, usually by phone, and ask for a ride specifying their requirements: the starting and ending locations of the intended journey, the pick up and drop off times, the number of seats required. Based on user requests and available resources (i.e. buses), TDC operators, assisted by suitable software tools, ascertain the service proposal(s) which best fit into the state of the service (i.e. the journeys and routes planned or those presently on their route).

TDCs use booking and reservation systems which have the capacity to effectively assign passengers to vehicles and optimise the routes and schedules. A variety of enabling technologies are used for the implementation of a DRTS, including:

  • booking and reservation systems,
  • network design and optimisation,
  • static and dynamic scheduling and assignment systems,
  • dynamic systems for management and optimisation of DRTS,
  • vehicle location and monitoring hardware and software,
  • in-vehicle terminals,
  • meters and display systems.

ATAF, PT Company Firenze (IT)

City of Gothenburg (SE)

De Lijn, Flanders PT Company (BE)

ETTS, European Transport and Telematics Systems, Dublin (IR)

Logistik Centrum VAST AB (SE)

Lund University (SE)

MemEx srl (IT)

Mobisoft Oy (SF)

Municipality of Tuusula (SF)

PAMBO Bus Cooperative (IR)

PLANit Sweden AB (SE)


Telia AB (SE)

Town of Seinajoki (SF)

TTR, Transport and Travel Research Ltd, Oxford (UK)

TORG, University of Newcastle (UK)

Tritel, Brussels (BE)

Viatek Oy, Tampere (SF)

SAMPO provided a unique opportunity for the implementation of real-life, extensive trials of the DRT concept.

In fact, during the period 1995-1997, SAMPO performed as the European demonstrator project for DRT systems. This experience ended successfully in December 1997, and was continued and extended under the SAMPLUS project.

Five European countries participated in SAMPO, with rural and urban test sites including: Seinäjoki and Tuusula-Kerava-Järvenpää region in Finland, Hasselt in Belgium, the Kilkenny region in Ireland, Florence and Campi Bisenzio in Italy and Gothenburg in Sweden.

The local application design started in each SAMPO site in 1995,and the implementations started at the end of 1996, continuing on into the beginning of 1997. During the second half of 1997 the project assessment was carried out, and the final synthesis and evaluation was completed by the end of 1997.

The italian site was located in Campi Bisenzio, a small-sized town within the metropolitan area of Florence. There the SAMPO application was related to the provision of on-demand bus services operated among some 80 stops (meeting points) in an area of approximately 40 Km². The service was managed by ATAF, the Florence Public Transport Company, through the PersonalBus® system. The service started in Campi on 1.6.1997 and, after an experimental period of a few months, it is still (2010) operated on a regular basis.

PersonalBus® is the TDC software system developed by Softeco Sismat under SAMPO for the Italian DRT application in Florence and Campi Bisenzio. It was conceived and developed in close relationship with the customer - ATAF Azienda di Trasporto dell'Area Fiorentina - the Public Transport company of the municipal area of the city of Florence. As such, PersonalBus® exploited the expertise and the wide operational know how of a leader in the operation of DRT services in Italy and gained from daily verification and continous feedback "on the field", thus becoming one of Softeco Sismat's research success stories.

PersonalBus® supported TDC operators in several tasks, including the handling of customer orders, journey booking, route and service planning, service reporting, service statistics. With PersonalBus®, routes and journeys were not pre-planned but dynamically defined upon the customers demand, whose requests determined the order and timing of stop visits by the scheduled bus and the itinerary of the journey.

Through a graphical user interface, TDC operators could handle all service operations, including:

  • customer management (customer personal data handling),
  • trip request information management, including origin and destination stops, desired departure and arrival times, number of seats requested
  • service formation, including automated route planning and journey composition, manual journey editing and definition of special services
  • service reporting (journey tables for bus drivers) and statistics
  • service network editing and update

Furthermore, PersonalBus® also had a web-based remote information and booking component. Using internet access, DRT customers could get information about the planned service and send booking requests to the TDC.

SAMPO results were further validate in the SAMPLUS project.

For a complete overview of PersonalBus® and other mobility solutions, please refer to

Marco Boero

Marco Gorini

Know how - Mobility


EC Programme
TAP, Telematics Applications Programme, DGXIII

Grant agreement
N° ...

Start date
November 1995

24 months

MTC, Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications of Finland (FI)


SAMPO flyer (en)