Here is an interesting article from APTA’s Passenger Transport about the role of technological innovation in public transit. In particular, the article discusses how real-time vehicle location systems lead to better customer information and, in turn, better customer service. From next-bus arrival information at bus stops, to real-time information screens being installed at transit stations, customer expectations are driving technological development and technology is helping agencies to continually improve service.
Trying to find ways to keep up with the increasing demand for real-time bus status and location information may seem challenging, but is actually pretty easy with a Passenger Information System. Here’s a free webinar that explains what a Passenger Information System does, what the benefits of having one are, and how the technology works together to seamlessly transfer information from your agency to your riders. In addition, you can also learn what you need to do to prepare your agency for a Passenger Information System, and what you need to do to open your transit data and make use of web services. With a Passenger Information System, you can keep up with even the most sophisticated transit riders. Watch the webinar now.
Do your passengers want real-time bus information and status updates, but you’re not sure where to start to keep them informed? Are you interested in technologies such as SMS text messaging from bus stops, wayside signs or smartphone apps? This short, but fun demo takes you behind the scenes of a passenger information system and explains how the technology works to get real-time bus location and status information to your riders to keep them up-to-date and happy.
In today’s transit environment, passengers are increasingly demanding instant, real-time information available anytime, and from anywhere. Implementing a Passenger Information System is a way to make this happen and increase rider satisfaction at the same time. We’re pleased to present an informative webinar on Passenger Information Systems. If you want to learn about what a Passenger Information System does, what the benefits of having one are, and the technology that makes it work to seamlessly transfer information from your agency to your passengers, don’t miss this opportunity. You will also learn what you need to do to open your transit data and make use of web services.
A bright group of people over at Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center have developed an application that will make taking the bus more convenient for staff and students alike. It also demonstrates one of the benefits of releasing transit data. Called VT Bus Tracker, this system delivers up-to-date bus location information as well as passenger counts to the rider’s mobile phone. The data is provided by Blacksburg Transit (BT), who has Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) software installed at their agency. The user simply texts their location and the BT route they are interested in riding to the VT Bus Tracker phone number, and within seconds it will reply with the bus’ estimated arrival time and the number of riders on board. The system works with smart phones including BlackBerry, Android and the iPhone, and works with regular cell phones too. Users can also access this bus information by logging on to www.bustracker.org/.
Here is a great resource to help make getting around your city a little bit easier. This site lets you type in your city or zip code, and it will list all the transit-related apps that are available to download onto your smart phone. From real-time ‘Where’s my bus’ arrival info, to trip planners and traffic monitors, no matter where you are, or what kind of transit you use, you can find an app to make your commute a little easier. Check out the website here.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) estimates that riding public transit instead of driving saves people an average of $9,381 annually, or $782 per month, according to their most recent Transit Savings Report.
Also included in the report is a ranking of the top 20 cities in America with the highest transit ridership in order of their transit savings. According to APTA, the report demonstrates how an individual in a 2-person household can save money and reduce their carbon footprint by using public transportation.
Click here to read more about how public transit can save you money.
Interested in improving your agency’s transit technology but don’t know where to get funding? The Alberta government has recently allotted $2 billion to the Green Transit Initiatives Program (GreenTRIP) to improve transit across the province. If you operate a transit system in Alberta, Canada you are eligible to apply for this money.
As part of North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s series on “Transportation and Technology,” a symposium entitled “Social Media in the Transportation Industry: Implications for Change” was held on July 27, 2010. If you would like to hear/view the presentations from this event, they are available through NJTPA’s website here.
Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) transports over 21 million passengers throughout the city of Hamilton, Ontario each year and their 217 vehicles serve over 3,000 bus stops. Recently, HSR implemented ITS technology to streamline operations and comply with an Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) mandate requiring transit agencies to announce every bus stop on every route. Mentor Engineering is proud to have their technology chosen to help keep public transit accessible to all transit riders. Carol Wildeman, Senior Project Management for HSR talked to us about their technology implementation experience.
1. It seems that as a transit agency you really value technology and invest in it. Why is having a good, responsive transportation system so important to your city?
In days gone by, we have been at the forefront of technology, and we were one of the first transit agencies in Canada to have an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Our previous systems were getting a little elderly so we were at the point where we had to reinvest in our existing system. We found over the years we could reduce a lot of our costs with technology. By adding ITS technology we now have a much bigger focus on the kind of information we can provide to our customers.
2. What features of the ITS system are your dispatchers most excited about?
One of the things they want to do is send our operational notices via text message. Currently, they write them out and post them on the board in the garage, but the problem is that not all of our drivers come into the garage so they never see them. This way, we’ll be able to send our notices out in real-time using text messaging so everyone will be able to read them.
3. What has been the impact of adding a voice annunciator to your transit system?
Certainly, the public likes it. With this technology in place we were able to go to the Ontario Human Rights Commission and say that we have a system, and this is how it works to announce every bus stop. We were able to give a report of how often each driver was on task. We were able to demonstrate to the OHRC that our system is up and it’s working.
4. How much resistance to the system was there from the drivers?
When the system went in the drivers by and large were all for it. They felt that this was being put in to help them, and without it they would be required to announce all the stops themselves. The fact that we made the investment to put in a system that would automatically announce all the bus stops, our drivers really saw this as a benefit to them.
5. What does the future hold for your organization?
I would say that our customers are looking for more information that is easier to access. We’ve been looking at adding wayside signs for our terminals. Customers are going to want real-time information from our IVR system and our website in an easy-to-handle format.
A blog for those of us who live and work in fleet management. Topics include engine diagnostics, driver safety, mobile workforce management, CAD/AVL, vehicle maintenance, truck distribution, global computing, work order management, and field services.
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