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Public Transportation
Public transportation provides a good alternative to driving a personal vehicle.  Enhanced with the use of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies, public transit providers have been able to improve customer service and become more efficient, ultimately resulting in even greater mobility and access.  ITS initiatives for transit are typically undertaken by public transportation agencies.  These applications benefit the transit ridership as well as having positive implications on the overall transportation network as a whole.  
 
 

Oregon Case Studies
Transit Tracker
Transit Tracker
Automatic Vehicle Location
 
By using satellite technology, automatic vehicle location (AVL) can track the location of buses. This technology can provide riders with more accurate information about when buses will actually arrive at stops, enhancing rider convenience. Transit Tracker, a system involving Tri-Met and C-TRAN  , will use AVL information to provide personalized, interactive information on when buses will arrive at stops. The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) has been able to provide its customers with higher quality of service with the use of AVL. The use of AVL reduced late arrivals of buses by 21 percent and early arrivals by 12 percent. This improvement in part led to a 26 percent reduction in customer complaints [2].

AVL information may also be used to improve the efficiency of transit operations, by helping dispatchers to ensure that buses don't bunch. AVL combined with computer-aided dispatch (CAD) helps keep transit vehicles to published schedules. An evaluation of the AVL-CAD system in Portland showed a 9.4% improvement in schedule adherence. Portland State University studies showed that TriMet's overall on time performance increased from 69% before the implementation of AVL to 83% after. Other improvements attributed to the AVL system include improvements in bus spacing, fewer overloaded buses, and fewer customer complaints. AVL can also provide more detailed information when an incident occurs involving a transit vehicle, enhancing the safety and security of drivers and passengers.
 
Transit Signal Priority
 
Transit Signal Priority (TSP) gives transit vehicles a little extra green time or a little less red time at traffic signals to reduce the time they are slowed down by traffic signals. It is a cost-effective method to enhance regional mobility by improving transit travel times and reliability, thereby increasing the attractiveness of transit as an alternative to single-occupant vehicle travel. Its use is common in Europe, and is rapidly growing across North America.

TSP is an operational strategy that facilitates the movement of transit vehicles, either buses or streetcars, through traffic-signal controlled intersections. Objectives of TSP include improved schedule adherence and improved transit travel time efficiency while minimizing impacts to normal traffic operations.
 
TriMet (Portland, Oregon) was able to avoid adding one more bus by using TSP and experienced
a 10% improvement in travel time and up to a 19% reduction in travel time variability.
Due to increased reliability, TriMet has been able to reduce scheduled recovery time.
 
TSP is made up of four components.
  1. TSP system know where the vehicle requesting signal priority is located.
  2. The detection system communicates with a priority request generator that alerts the traffic control system that the vehicle would like to receive priority.
  3. There is software that processes the request and decides whether and how to grant priority based on the programmed priority control strategies.
  4. And there is software that manages the system, collects data, and generates reports. There are a variety of technical approaches that can be used as control strategies.
 
A similar transit priority system implemented on an urban bus line in Vancouver, British Columbia, has reduced the variability of travel time experienced by buses along the route by 29 percent in the morning peak hours and 59 percent during the evening peak hours. Another transit priority system in Valencia, Spain, found a 30 percent reduction in delay for vehicles already behind schedule [2].
 
 
Transportation Options
 

In 2007, ODOT implemented a major upgrade to the transit information on TripCheck.com. Visitors to the Transportation Option tab on the site can find local, regional and statewide public transportation services. This section of TripCheck also includes maps as well as links to routes and schedules.
 
Transportation Options provides several different ways to search for information including:
  • City or county – allows users to search for transportation options within a specific city or county. Users can refine the search with filters for wheelchair accessibility, bicycle transport, service days and by travel mode, such as bus, train and taxi.
  • City to city – allows users to search for intercity public transit connections. Services can be filtered by wheelchair or bicycle accommodations. General information about local transportation providers, including contact information and web site addresses, is also available.
  • Special accommodations – allows users to find transit service that accommodate various mobility devices, provide door to door or curb to curb service, or other specialized services.   
 
Usage of transit data on TripCheck has increased seven fold since the introduction of this feature.
 

Resources and References
 
  1. Trip Planning: State of the Practice Report by FTA
  2. Acrobat Logo  OR0206 Transit Tracker Lessons Learned Report  (9 pages-149KB PDF)
  3. Acrobat Logo  OR0206 Transit Tracker Lessons Learned Interview Summary  (7 pages-104KB PDF)
 
 
 
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