Cost

Based on information from 18 agencies worldwide, the costs of real-time bus arrival information systems vary depending on AVL technology, fleet size, and provisioning of real-time information.


2003
Denver,Colorado,United States; Fairfax City,Virginia,United States; Helsinki,Finland; London,England; Los Angeles,California,United States; Portland,Oregon,United States; San Francisco,California,United States; Seattle,Washington,United States; Wilmington,Delaware,United States; Glendale,California,United States; Williamsport,Pennsylvania,United States; Dublin,Ireland; Bologna,Italy; Taipei,Taiwan; Kaohsiung,Taiwan; Taichung,Taiwan; Birmingham,United Kingdom; Kent County,United Kingdom


Summary Information

This TCRP synthesis report presents information on the state of the practice in real-time bus arrival information systems based on literature research and survey of transit agencies in the United States and abroad. The focus of the report is on bus systems, rather than all transit modes. While transit agencies initially deployed automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems to increase operational efficiency, the side benefit of being able to provide real-time bus arrival information to customers is being recognized by transit agencies of all sizes.

The literature review results indicate that, although there is not a significant number of systems operational in the United States, the number of deployments are increasing. Europe has a greater number of operational systems and the systems were deployed earlier than those in the U.S.

The survey covered the basic elements of deploying a real-time bus arrival information system: characteristics of the underlying AVL system, type of media used to disseminate the information, how real-time information is predicted, system costs, customer and media feedback on the system, and institutional and organizational issues. A total of 18 surveys were received; half were from transit agencies in the U.S.

The majority of AVL systems use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology; other technologies used include signpost and transponders. Bus arrival time is disseminated to riders via dynamic message signs or liquid crystal displays at stops. The same information also may be disseminated via the Internet, cellular phones, and personal digital assistants. The most common information displayed at the stops include current date and time, route number and final destination of the bus, wait time (presented as count-down or time range), and service disruptions or other service/security messages. The communications technologies frequently used to disseminate information from the central system to each stop are cellular and conventional telephone lines.

The capital costs for the underlying AVL system and additional real-time information system (including the prediction model software cost) are presented in the table below. The total capital cost for the AVL and real-time information systems ranged from a low of $60,000 for the Fairfax (Virginia) CUE with 12 AVL-equipped vehicles to more than $70 million for the London Buses with an AVL-equipped fleet of 5,700. The cost information, which was excerpted from the report, was reported by the 18 agencies completing the survey. Report tables 4 and 5 contain additional cost data (e.g., cost per vehicle). Note for data in the following two tables, that non-U.S. costs were converted to U. S. dollars using the Interbank currency exchange rate for September 19, 2002.

Agency
Number of Vehicles with AVL
Type of AVL
Total Capital Cost of AVL System
Additional Capital Cost for Providing Real-Time Information
Prediction Model Software Cost as Reported
RTD
1,111
GPS
$15,000,000
$1,000,000
NR
City Bus
25
GPS
$150,000
N/A
NR
DTC
189
GPS
$12,000,000
$500,000
NR
Fairfax CUE
12
GPS
$60,000
Included in AVL cost
Included in AVL cost
Glendale Beeline
20
GPS
$171,000 (includes the capital cost of 2 signs)
Included in total AVL cost
Included in AVL cost
LADOT/LACMTA—Metro Rapid System
150
Loop inductors
$2,100,000 (includes cost of transit priority system – signal equipment, roadway sensors, etc.)
$600,000
$300,000
San Francisco Muni
827
GPS
$9,600,000
Included in AVL cost
Included in AVL cost
Tri-Met
689
GPS
$7,000,000
$750,000
Included
ATC Bologna
450
GPS
$4,891,400
$782,600
Developed with internal resources
Kaohsiung
250
GPS
$187,500
$187,500
Taichung
250
GPS
$187,500
$187,500
Taipei
135
GPS
$270,000
$300,000
$20,000
London Buses
5,700
Signpost
$23,251,500─$27,901,800
$46,503,000 estimated for 4000 signs
NR
YTV
340
DGPS and Signpost
$1,400,000
$1,100,000
$250,000
Centro
6
GPS
$705,300
NR
NR
King County Metro
1,300
Signpost
$15,000,000
$1,000,000 to upgrade on-board hardware plus $250,000 in software
$500,000
Dublin Bus
156
GPS
$660,300
$97,900
$81,000
Kent County Council
141
DGPS
$2,000,000
Included in AVL cost
Included in AVL cost

The annual operating and maintenance (O&M) costs for the underlying AVl system and additional real-time information system are presented in the table below. The cost information, which was excerpted from the report, was reported by the 18 agneices completing the survey. Report tables 6 and 7 contain additional cost data (e.g., cost per vehicle, number of signs). Many of the responding agencies were not able to provide the annual O&M costs of theses systems. This lack of information is due in part to the difficulty in allocating tangential costs (e.g., communciation, utility, and software maintenance) across systems and components.

Agency
Number of Vehicles with AVL
Total Annual O&M Cost of AVL System
Total Annual O&M Cost for Providing Real-Time Information
Annual Maintenance Cost for Prediction Model Software Cost as Reported
RTD
1,111
NR
$150,000
NR
City Bus
25
NR
[no data provided]
[no data provided]
DTC
189
$200,000
$150,000
NR
Fairfax CUE
12
NR
$30,000
NR
Glendale Beeline
20
Included in AVL cost
Included in AVL cost
Included in AVL cost
LADOT/LACMTA—Metro Rapid System
150
NR
N/A
Negligible
San Francisco Muni
827
$1,300,000
Included in AVL O&M cost
Included in AVL O&M cost
Tri-Met
689
$200,000
$100,000
NR
ATC Bologna
450
$391,308
$48,914
NR
Kaohsiung
250
$112,500
$37,500
NR
Taichung
250
$112,500
$37,500
NR
Taipei
135
$87,750
$200,000
$30,000
London Buses
5,700
$7,750,500
Included in cost of real-time system
NR
YTV
340
$100,000
NR
NR
Centro
6
$41,233
$38,753
NR
King County Metro
1,300
$400,000
[no data provided]
[no data provided]
Dublin Bus
156
$111,816
$22,363
NR
Kent County Council
141
$60,000
Included in AVL cost
NR


Notes: RTD = Regional Transportation District; NR = not reported; N/A = not available; DTC = Delaware Transit Corporation; CUE = City-University-Energysaver; LADOT/LACMTA = Los Angeles DOT/Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority; Tri-Met = Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Orgeon; ATC Bologna = Azienda Trasporti Consorziali Bologna; YTV = Helsinski Metropolitan Area Council.


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Source

TCRP Synthesis 48: Real-Time Bus Arrival Information Systems

Author: Schweiger, Carol L.

Published By: Transit Cooperative Research Program, Transportation Research Board

Sponored by the Federal Transit Adminisration

Source Date: 2003

URL: http://trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=1709

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Cost ID: 2004-00075