Transport for London (TfL) has awarded contracts to develop a mobile and Internet-based information system to allow passengers access to real-time information on routes and bus arrivals.

The three 12-year contracts awarded to Telent, ACIS and Trueform will see an upgrade of the TfL’s Countdown system where passengers will use their mobile phone or the Internet to find out when their next bus is due.

The new system will build on the iBus upgrade carried out by TfL and Siemens, which linked all of London’s 8,000 buses with a central control system through a new GPS-based radio and communications system.

Telent will develop the software required to deliver real-time bus departure information via the Internet and mobile phones while ACIS and Trueform will install and maintain bus stop signs and electronic information displays.

The TfL plans to start fitting new Countdown signs from 2011 at 2,500 key stops across the capital to provide more accurate bus arrival time predictions.

The new system is expected to be developed within two years.