Lesson

To avoid project implementation delays and unanticipated costs, perform a thorough review of the existing technologies during the planning phase of a comprehensive transit ITS deployment.

Washoe County’s experience implementing a comprehensive transit ITS program.


May 2010
Reno; Nevada; United States


Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Agencies shall benefit from conducting a thorough review of its existing ITS technologies during the planning phase. In this regard, the lessons learned from the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County’s transit ITS planning and deployment are presented below.
  • Perform a thorough review of agency's existing technologies during the planning phase of a comprehensive transit ITS deployment. During the planning process, a transit agency should conduct a thorough review of its existing hardware, software and networks. If a detailed inventory does not exist, one should be made that documents the capabilities of all systems in terms of processor speeds, radio and wireless communications capabilities, network configurations, storage capacities and backup processes. Performing this review will allow your agency to be better able to identify systems that may need to be replaced due to lack of technical support or outdated technologies. It will also help identify the limitations of your system that may impact how ITS is implemented, or what will be needed to fully utilize ITS.
  • Avoid delays in deployment and unanticipated cost escalation by having a full knowledge of hardware and software needs during technology review. . A detailed technology review is valuable information to provide to potential ITS contractors. They will be able to identify how their systems can work with your existing technologies, and help you identify changes necessary that will be above and beyond the cost of their systems. RTC procured all-new hardware with its transit ITS implementation, and that simplified the process by eliminating interfacing with legacy equipment. Some software used by the agency was not as compatible with the proposed ITS as expected. In order to fully utilize the transit ITS, RTC had to procure new paratransit scheduling and fixed-route scheduling systems. The need for these applications was not determined until transit ITS implementation had begun, and resulted in delays and additional unanticipated costs to RTC.
To avoid unanticipated delays and cost escalation, an agency should perform a thorough review of its existing technologies during the ITS planning phase. RTC has largely achieved the goals of its transit ITS deployment program and benefited significantly in many ways including better schedule adherence, increased ridership, reduced emissions, and increased customer satisfaction.


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Source

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Intelligent Transportation System Implementation Evaluation Study

Author: Tina Wu, Matt Weatherford, Ancila Kaiparambil, Linna Zhang

Published By: Federal Transit Administration U.S. Department of Transportation

Source Date: May 2010

Other Reference Number: FTA Report FTA- NV-26-7005-2010.1

URL: http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/RTC_ITS_Eval_Study_section508.pdf

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Benefits From This Source

Automatic vehicle location (AVL) on Reno buses leads to nearly four percent increase in on-time performance for paratransit services and more comprehensive schedule adherence data to create more accurate schedules.

Estimated reduction of 9.37 million personal vehicle miles traveled and 4,252 metric tons of CO2 from increased transit ridership in Reno, Nevada.

Forty-five percent reduction in complaints by paratransit riders, 50 percent less missed trips due to mechanical problems, and a new trip planning tool for fixed-route riders introduced as part of ITS deployment in Reno.

Overtime hours for drivers reduced and no staff increase necessary to handle over 10 percent increase in transit ridership over six years.

Lessons From This Source

Be prepared to use local resources to service mission critical system components, and provide ongoing O&M training to maximize system benefits.

Consider procuring computer and network hardware independently when feasible and procure right-sized systems.

Define clear goals for a comprehensive transit ITS deployment program and track the achievement of those goals to evaluate program's success.

Designate the agency project manager as the single point of contact with the contractor and evaluate track record of contractor’s project management.

Develop requirements using widely accepted standards, preferably the open source compatible ones if available, and review those requirements immediately before requesting proposals from contractors.

Do not expect to see significant operations staff reductions due to implementing ITS technologies, but do expect service improvements using the same staff levels.

Encourage staff to find creative and efficient uses of ITS to improve operations through better communications.

Ensure that the management responsible for transit ITS planning is knowledgeable on agency’s labor contracts and how labor contracts affect effective utilization of ITS tools.

Expect agency's information technology (IT) operations and maintenance budget to increase in order to train qualified IT staff to maintain a new suite of hardware and software.

For a comprehensive transit ITS deployment program, select an agency project manager with skills in planning, information technology, and communications.

Identify champions early to facilitate communications, project management, and staff ownership for successful deployment of a comprehensive transit ITS program.

In deploying a comprehensive transit ITS program, develop strategies and requirements for planning, procurement, implementation, and ongoing operations.

Prepare agency staff for implementation of new ITS technologies and involve maintenance and information technology (IT) staff in the installation process.

To avoid project implementation delays and unanticipated costs, perform a thorough review of the existing technologies during the planning phase of a comprehensive transit ITS deployment.

To avoid surprises after implementation of a comprehensive transit ITS program, perform a detailed analysis of costs for operations and maintenance during the project planning phase.

Understand that the contractor’s availability to remain on site after the deployment of a comprehensive transit ITS is important, so is the contractor’s ability to work with the original equipment manufacturer.

Weigh in the advantages of procuring new information technology (IT) assets, and maintain an asset management system that details new IT inventory.

Lesson ID: 2011-00606