In Chattanooga, Tennessee, fixed-route scheduling software improved operations by saving approximately 60 hours per week in operator labor, resulting in a savings of approximately $62,000 per year.

10 June 2008
Chattanooga; Tennessee; United States

Summary Information

The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority's (CARTA's) SmartBus Project is a comprehensive transit ITS program that involves deployment of a wide array of transit ITS technologies including: data warehousing and reporting software to accumulate data from different CARTA applications and provide reports to support CARTA operations; new operations management software to support fixed-route scheduling and demand response scheduling and dispatch; ticket vending machines for the Incline Railway; a remote diagnostics maintenance system; various on-board systems (mobile data computers, computer-aided dispatch / automated vehicle location software, a covert alarm, automated passenger counters, and a next stop automated announcement system); and new fareboxes, a revenue management system, and a multi-modal transit/parking smart card electronic fare payment system.

Phase II of the national evaluation of CARTA's SmartBus Project, involved a series of interviews with various CARTA staff, as well as other performance measures including transit ridership, on-time performance, and on the road failures. The goal of the Phase II evaluations was to determine the impacts of the program's technologies in performing daily functions such as operations, scheduling, service planning, and maintenance, and to gather and document any lessons learned by the project team throughout the process of the deployment and operation of the technologies.

CARTA implemented new fixed-route scheduling software in April of 2006, and will be integrating this software with the CAD/AVL system once in place in 2009. Interviews with CARTA’s Director of Planning and CARTA’s Manager of Scheduling revealed the current impacts CARTA has already experienced from the fixed-route scheduling software, and the anticipated effects of CAD/AVL integration with the scheduling software.

  • By using the new scheduling software for runcutting, the agency has saved approximately 60 hours per week in operator labor, resulting in a savings of approximately $62,000 per year.
  • The scheduling software has decreased runcutting (the process of developing operator assignments from service schedules) time from 2 weeks to about 5 minutes. The time savings allows the Director of Planning to run multiple scenarios through the software and to select the optimum set of cuts based on various factors such as cost or route schedule.
  • The scheduling software is able to produce runcuts that minimize operating costs while ensuring compliance with labor laws and CARTA policies. This is possible because human resources data is integrated into the system and CARTA staff can input pertinent information such as hourly rates, overtime rates, overtime policies, and driver break policies.
  • Once integrated with CAD/AVL, the scheduling software is expected to facilitate greater control of headway times and schedules among routes that are particularly problematic.

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Chattanooga SmartBus Project Final Phase II Evaluation Report

Author: J. Rephlo (SAIC), R. Haas (SAIC), J. Bauer (SAIC)

Published By: US DOT - ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Innovative Technology Adminstration

Source Date: 10 June 2008

EDL Number: 14431

Other Reference Number: FHWA-JPO-08-051



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Benefit ID: 2009-00597