Consider different operational strategies when deploying ITS.
Five rural transit agencies' experiences in applying ITS to rural transit.
Statewide,New Mexico,United States; Austin,Texas,United States; St. John's County,Florida,United States; Marion County,Florida,United States; Putnam County,Florida,United States; Ottumwa,Iowa,United States; Williamsport,Pennsylvania,United States
- Maintain support agreements with vendors and/or develop the necessary in-house expertise to deal with technical issues. The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS), in Austin, TX, has an agreement with their vendor, but also has a part-time staff person devoted to technology support as his primary responsibility. Once their remaining Mobile Data Terminals (MDT) are installed, this person will begin providing technical support on a full-time basis. CARTS feels that this approach works better than relying solely on the software or hardware vendor because it enables problems to be resolved more quickly.
- Maintain on-going staff support for data maintenance functions on ITS deployments that include a GIS component. Agencies' service areas are continuously changing, requiring on-going changes to underlying GIS data. While agencies may be able to rely on vendors for some changes, they may have a need for in-house support to deal with on-going, minor changes. When CARTS deployed new scheduling and dispatch software they had difficulties with the addition of geographic data. While CARTS staff were able to piecemeal GIS data updates, significant changes had to be sent to the software provider for formatting. As the service area and the transit service provided by CARTS grew, this became an increasingly important issue, particularly since the AVL system would not be able to track vehicles that left the defined area.
- Install software on managers' computers. Agencies sometimes have a tendency to only install software for the people who will be using it on an everyday basis. However, by giving managers access to the technology, this enables them to better understand problems that their staff may be having with the system. In Ottumwa, Iowa the Transit Administrator eventually had the Automatic Vehicle Location/Mobile Data Terminal (AVL/MDT) software installed on her computer. She believes this has been beneficial since she now understands the problems that the dispatchers are having with the system.
- Think about strategies to save bandwidth, particularly if there are communications constraints. Since many rural agencies have issues with their communications capacity, it is advisable to look for methods to economize in this area. CARTS allows their dispatchers to initiate polls on the AVL system in order to cut down on the polling cycle, which saves bandwidth.
Author: Joana Conklin, Carol Schweiger, Buck Marks, Yehuda Gross, William Wiggins, Karen Timpone
Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT
Source Date: March 2003
EDL Number: 13784
Other Reference Number: Report No.FHWA-OP-03-77URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/jpodocs/repts_te/13784.html
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
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