Recognize the data requirements of an Advanced Public Transportation System (APTS).

Experience from the Cape Cod Advanced Public Transit System.

January 2003
Cape Cod,Massachusetts,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

The deployment of an Advanced Public Transportation System (APTS) requires a significant commitment to the collection of high quality data. As part of the evaluation of the Cod Regional Transit Authority's (CCRTA) APTS project, interviews were conducted with project staff and stakeholders, including CCRTA dispatchers and bus operators. Based on these interviews, the following set of lessons learned on data requirements was developed.
  • Ensure the quality of the data. A key benefit of the APTS system is due to its ability to collect and maintain data that can be used to optimize system operations and planning. Consequently, maintaining the integrity of the data is critical. If vehicle operators fail to log in or mis-enter boarding data, the benefits of the system of the system will be compromised. To ensure that high quality data is collected, vehicle operators as well as other users of the system must be trained on system operations and monitoring of the data must be ongoing.
    • During the summer 2001 some anomalies were reported in the electronic data collection of passenger counts. Operations management noted that due to the large number of temporary staff hired for the summer as well as barriers in training on the use of the MDC system (such as language and computer unfamiliarity), that not all operators may have been fully familiar with the system, especially near the beginning of the summer. As a result more aggressive training and data collection oversight were planned for the summer of 2002.
  • Expect start-up bugs. In particular, with new and untested technology, technical problems may be an issue.
    • The MDC and software implemented by CCRTA were an "alpha-release" by the manufacturer, which had not previously implemented a product for use on both paratransit and fixed route vehicles simultaneously. As a result, numerous software patches were required to fix bugs and to customize the system to meet CCRTA's needs. A design flaw also led to the replacement of a batch of MDCs under warranty. As manufacturers gain more experience with the design and implementation of APTS systems, such start-up glitches are likely to decrease dramatically.
The data collected through an APTS can be used to support service planning (such as route restructuring) as well as operational planning, but transit agencies must ensure the integrity of the data if it is used for such purposes. Agencies must also be prepared to address technology start-up bugs. Through the collection and use of high quality data, transit agencies are better equipped to make operational decisions that result in improvements to mobility, safety, productivity and efficiency.

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Evaluation of the Cape Cod Advanced Public Transit System Phases I and II: Final Report

Author: Porter, Christopher, Lynn Ahlgren, and Louisa Yue (Cambridge Systematics, Inc.)

Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration

Source Date: January 2003

EDL Number: 14096

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/4248

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Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Christopher Porter
Cambridge Systematics

Agency Contact(s):

Lawrence Harman
Geographics Laboratory, Bridgewater State College

Lesson Analyst:

Margaret Petrella
RITA/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2008-00424