The Portland TriMet Transit Tracker real-time traveler information system cost approximately $1.075 million to design and implement.

August 2006
Portland,Oregon,United States

Summary Information

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) sponsored a study to analyze the return-on-investment for real-time bus arrival time information systems. The Transit Tracker system deployed in the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) was used as a test case for analysis.

Deployed in 2001, Transit Tracker provides riders with a real-time estimate of the expected time the next transit vehicle will arrive at a specific bus stop or rail station. The tracking system covers each of TriMet's 7,700 bus stops and all light rail stations. Information is provided to riders via electronic information displays, a dedicated phone line, and a Web site as stated below.
  • At Stops/Stations: Deployed in 2001, all TriMet light rail stations and 13 bus stops are equipped with electronic Transit Tracker information displays. Four of the 13 bus stops also include voice annunciation.
  • By Phone: Deployed in 2004, TriMet offers a Transit Tracker customer service line, 503-238-RIDE.
  • Via the Web: Deployed in 2002, TriMet offers a Transit Tracker Web page (
Transit Tracker tracks the real-time location of vehicles with an accuracy of approximately 30 feet by using the global positioning system (GPS) technology. This real-time location information of vehicles allows the calculation of real-time bus and train arrival times, which are routed to electronic message signs at the equipped bus shelters and rail stations, as well as to the Web site and the customer service phone line. Transit vehicle arrival information is provided in the form of countdown-minutes to the next arrival.

A rough estimate of the cost of the field equipment (designing, purchasing, and installing the dynamic message signs at 13 bus stops and all rail stations), servers, and Web development for Transit Tracker is $1.075 million. Operating and maintenance costs for Transit Tracker are estimated to be roughly $94,300 per year. The table below, excerpted from the source report, shows the itemized costs for capital and O&M.

Capital Cost
Hardware (primarily field equipment)
$ 950,000
Servers & Software
Annual O&M Cost
$ 558

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Real-time Bus Arrival Information Systems Return-on-Investment Study

Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Transit Administration

Prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton for the U.S. DOT FTA

Source Date: August 2006


System Cost

Transit Tracker (Deployed 2001):

Capital costs: $1.075 million.

Annual O&M costs: $94,300.


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Cost ID: 2008-00152