Ensure that staff resources and leadership capabilities are commensurate with the scope and complexity of the project, and will be in place from the beginning of the project.

Ventura County’s experience with an automated transit fare collection system.

Ventura,California,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Smart Passport did not have sufficient staff to manage the project. No consideration was given to hiring a project manager, data processor, or transactions specialist in the project-planning phase. As the project progressed, the participants quickly realized that VCTC could not manage the project with its existing staff. Caltrans hired a consultant shortly thereafter, but the participants were never fully satisfied with the consultant's work. The consultant's contract was eventually terminated, and the demonstration continued without a project manager. Furthermore, according to Echelon, the participating operators did not fully grasp Echelon's need for access to the vehicles for maintenance and collection of data.

Each of these roles contributes significantly to the success of the project. One of the critical lessons learned from Smart Passport is that a multi-agency fare collection system needs a project manager and a data management specialist.

The project manager must ensure that the desired level of communication, coordination, and performance is achieved. The project manager must work proactively with each of the participating agencies, and act as an ombudsman with the systems integrator/vendor to troubleshoot and resolve problems as they arise. It is also easier to maintain cost and budget control if the vendor and systems integrator interface with a project manager as the single point of contact through which instructions and information flow.

A data management specialist is required when an operating agency is serving as the clearinghouse provider because of the tremendous amount of data. The responsibilities include data collection, settlement, and reconciliation of transactional data and the corresponding reporting functions. During the Smart Passport demonstration, the data management specialist, who was VCTC's accountant, also distributed funds to the participating operators. It is unlikely that a data management specialist would normally perform the distribution of funds function.

It is also essential that all participating agencies understand the inherent challenges and opportunities associated with the introduction of new technology. Agency management should provide strong leadership to its staff, and emphasize that the success of the project is an agency-wide priority.

NOTE: See the original document for information on specific staffing requirements for Managerial, Technical and Administrative positions.

Lesson Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Lesson

To comment on this lesson, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


Ventura County Fare Integration: A Case Study


Published By: USDOT FHWA/FTA

Source Date: 9/1/2001

EDL Number: 13479

Other Reference Number: FHWA-OP-01-033, FTA-TRI-11-01-01

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/3703

Other Lessons From this Source

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Leisa Moniz
U.S. DOT/RITA/John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

Agency Contact(s):

Steve DeGeorge
Ventura County Transportation Commission
805-642-1591 ext 103

Lesson Analyst:

Jane Lappin
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Lesson

(click stars to rate)

Application Areas

None defined




United States

Focus Areas

None defined


None defined

Lesson ID: 2005-00040