Lesson

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

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


May 2010
Reno; Nevada; United States


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Lesson Learned

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

Project evaluators reported on the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County, Nevada's success in achieving the major goals for its transit ITS program. Key performance metrics are presented below.

Goal 1: Make public transportation more attractive to the general public.
  • Since AVL data has been used to track fixed-route schedule adherence, on-time performance is documented between 86 percent and 88 percent.
  • Since fiscal year (FY) 2006, fixed-route vehicles have experienced a 50 percent decrease in missed trips due to mechanical reasons.
Goal 2: Maximize passenger movements.
  • Ridership on fixed-route services rose between FY20021 and FY2008 by 10.8 percent.
  • From 2002 to 2007, paratransit ridership has increased by 5.1 percent.
  • Paratransit trip “no-shows” have dropped 45 percent between FY2005 and FY2008.
Goal 3: Reduce operational costs. Data show that this goal was not fulfilled for most measures, which is an indication that a comprehensive transit ITS program would likely increase an agency’s overall operating costs.
  • The size of the planning, administrative and management staffs at RTC ACCESS and RTC RIDE have stayed constant, despite the increase in passenger trips provided.
  • Fixed-route operating costs increased by 64 percent between 2002 and 2007, and operating cost per passenger trip increased 48 percent.
  • Paratransit operating costs have increased by 30 percent between 2002 and 2007, and operating cost per passenger trip have increased by 23 percent.
  • Overtime operating hours dropped 30 percent between FY2005 and FY2008.
Goal 4: Reduce emissions/energy use.
  • The increased transit usage in Washoe County between 2002 and 2007 potentially saved 9.37 million personal (passenger car) vehicle miles, and the resulting estimated total fuel cost savings for this period is estimated be as high as $1.37 million.
  • Due to potentially lesser use of passenger cars and the corresponding increased use of transit, the total CO2 emission reduction in the Reno-Sparks area is estimated to be as high as 4,252 metric tons.
Goal 5: Improve public transportation safety.
  • Since FY2006, RTC RIDE has experienced a 50 percent decrease in missed trips for mechanical reasons.
Goal 6: Increase the awareness of ITS benefits.
  • Since FY2002, customer complaints per 1,000 passengers for paratransit service have decreased by 45 percent.
  • Calls requesting traveler information have increased by approximately 15 percent since 2006.
It is evident from these results that 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: 2011-00601