Data archive warehousing pays for itself in less than 1.4 years and scheduling software saves almost four weeks per year for operations planners.

An evaluation of the SmartBus ITS implementation program for the Chattanooga Area Regional Transporation Authority.

December 2009
Chattanooga,Tennessee,United States

Summary Information

This report presents the results of Phase III of the national evaluation of the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority’s (CARTA) SmartBus Project. The SmartBus Project is a comprehensive transit ITS program for the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Implementation of the ITS infrastructure began in 2004. The evaluation analyzes "before and after" impacts to determine benefits based on technologies that are deployed and fully integrated. These technologies include: data archive warehousing, scheduling software, ticket vending machines (TVM), upgraded fareboxes, automated announcement systems (AAS), dynamic message signs (DMS) for real-time arrival information, and remote diagnostic maintenance systems (RDMS).

Researchers used data from the data archives and interviews with CARTA staff and administration in order to assess the impact that the technologies had on performing daily functions such as operations, scheduling, service planning, and maintenance.

CARTA found that by using a data archiving warehouse, they saved $72,000 by being able to produce reports in-house that they formerly needed to hire contractors to produce. Every month this tool saves the CARTA purchaser two days of labor because of improved access to necessary information. Later IT developments were integrated into the existing data archives warehouse structure, giving CARTA a central repository for its data. CARTA estimates that the system paid for itself in 1.39 years.

CARTA implemented TVMs for their inclined railway, which transports passengers up a scenic mountainside. This process provided CARTA with more detailed ticketing data (such as time of purchase and quantity purchased) than they had with manual ticket sales. Data from the TVMs are stored in the data archive warehouse and have been used to analyze ridership data. It also generated tighter control over the revenue stream and was able to save enough time where they needed one less employee.

New fareboxes allowed CARTA to offer reusable, contactless passes, which reduced driver responsibility for recording passenger counts and fare media used. Revenue has increased since the installation of the new fareboxes and CARTA feels they provide better revenue stream control. The software inside them provides time stamped fare data that is uploaded daily to the data archive warehouse so that ridership trends can be tracked an analyzed.

For each of the semiannual service revisions, the operations planning department saves almost two weeks of labor by using scheduling software to generate multiple run-cutting scenarios for comparison. The software can generate a run-cut scenario in minutes and multiple scenarios can be compared to find the options that best fit CARTA's service needs. The software is also able to produce materials necessary for service changes that used to require intensive manual labor.

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Chattanooga SmartBus Project: Phase III Evaluation Report

Author: R. Haas, E. Perry, J. Rephlo

Published By: United States Department of Transportation ITS Joint Program Office Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)

Source Date: December 2009

EDL Number: 14937



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Goal Areas


Related Metropolitan Integration Links

Link 14a: Transit Management to Traveler Information

Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


automated vehicle location, computer aided dispatch, automatic vehicle locator, AVL, CAD, AVL/CAD, smart cards, electronic fare payment, SmartCard, smart card, SmartCards, Computer-Aided Dispatch, CAD, Automated Vehicle Location, AVL, Mobile Data Terminals, MDT, Automated Announcement System, AAS, Scheduling Software, Paratransit, Transit, Ticket Vending Machines, TVM, Remote Diagnostic Maintenance System, RDMS, real-time passenger information, data archive

Benefit ID: 2011-00713