In Denver, 80 percent of RTD dispatchers felt that the GPS functions of the transit AVL system were "easy" or "very easy" to use and approximately half of bus drivers and street supervisors felt likewise.

August 2000
Denver,Colorado,United States

Summary Information

The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) AVL system was implemented to develop more efficient schedules, improve the ability of dispatchers to adjust on-street operations, and increase safety through better emergency management.

In conjunction with the new AVL system, the entire dispatcher-to-field communications system was replaced providing more capacity to communicate data.

This study attempted to evaluated AVL and isolate the impacts of an improved communication system.


The GPS based vehicle location function rated very well with dispatchers. Operators and dispatchers were able to communicate more quickly and efficiently. More than 80 percent of the dispatchers found the system "easy" or "very easy" to use, while more than 50 percent of operators, and street supervisors felt likewise.

Although the AVL system provided dispatchers with more information and enabled them to accurately monitor the vehicle fleet, many operators perceived the system as an intrusion or a way for RTD to control them. Operators did, however, favor schedule adherence functions that would enable them to make adjustments en-route and reduce the potential for being penalized for not adhering to schedules.

As schedule adherence improved between 1992 and 1997, the number of customer complaints decreased by 26 percent (per 100,000 boardings).

RTD operations personnel indicated that they do not expect the AVL system to provide noticeable economic impacts. Their reasons for selecting the system were to give them better control over a growing fleet, and to provide better customer service in order to retain customers and attract new ones.


For additional information pertaining to the impacts of CAD/AVL on RTD transit operations see the corresponding report:
Denver RTDS Computer-Aided Dispatch/Automated Vehicle Location Systems - The Human Factors Consequences (September 1999).

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Assessment of the Denver Regional Transportation District Automatic Vehicle Location System

Author: Weatherford, Matt

Published By: Federal Transit Administration, U.S. DOT

Prepared by Castle Rock Consultants for the U.S. DOT through the Volpe National Transportation System Center

Source Date: August 2000

EDL Number: 13589

Other Reference Number: Report No. DOT-VNTSC-FTA-00-04



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Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


automated vehicle location, computer aided dispatch, automatic vehicle locator, AVL, CAD, AVL/CAD

Benefit ID: 2007-00462