Cost

Recent contract awards suggest the capital costs to implement bus AVL systems range from $10,000 to $20,000 per vehicle.


2008
United States


Summary Information

This research documented the current state-of-practice of fixed-route and demand responsive automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems. A literature review was conducted and the results of on-line surveys and case study telephone interviews were evaluated to collect information on the characteristics of implemented bus AVL systems, and examine agency experiences during the design, procurement, implementation, and integration of these systems.
Using an on-line survey software tool, questionnaires were distributed to 107 different transit agencies in the United States and Internationally. Thirty-two (32) agencies responded to the survey. Researchers consolidated participant responses to each of the survey questions and highlighted important findings documenting benefits, costs, and lessons learned.

The synthesis also included a review of capital cost data collected from 27 recent contract awards dating from 2001 to 2007 in the United States and Canada. Researchers developed a formula to calculate rough estimates of AVL implementation costs based on data collected that showed how contract award values increased with increased fleet size.

Contract Award = $17,577(Fleet Size) + $2,506,759 (with an R2=0.677).

The equation is best suited for fleets having less than 750 vehicles and assumes that the costs for the central system are generally insensitive to fleet size and the costs for onboard systems are relatively proportional to fleet size. Researchers noted that there are additional factors not reflected in the model that may affect price, such as:

  • The competitive situation for the particular procurement.
  • The specific scope of the procurement and whether or not significant capital cost items such as radio system enhancements or a real-time passenger information systems are included.
  • The effects of inflation and other marketplace factors on system prices over time.

The data used to formulate the equation above were derived from the following agencies as detailed in Table 34 of the report.

Table 34 (Recent Agency Contract Awards)

Agency
Year
Fleet Size
Award
Island Explorer (Bar Harbor, ME)
2001
17
$801,385
Grand River Transit (Waterloo Region, ON)
2005
34
$2,683,229
Coordinated Transit System (Lake Tahoe, CA)
2002
47
$3,600,000
CityBus (Culver City, CA)
2005
55
$3,500,000
York Region Transit (Toronto, ON)
2004
77
$8,695,652
Intercity Transit (Olympia, WA)
2005
85
$4,400,000
StarTran (Lincoln, NE)
2007
93
$1,400,000
Regional Transportation Commission (Reno, NV)
2002
122
$4,750,000
VOTRAN (Daytona Beach, FL)
2005
153
$3,812,245
C-Tran (Vancouver, WA)
2004
165
$3,600,000
Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (Nashville, TN)
2007
224
$7,300,000
Long Beach Transit (Long Beach, CA)
2003
228
$6,500,000
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (Tampa Bay, FL)
2006
297
$9,281,981
Foothill Transit (West Covina, CA)
2006
300
$11,700,000
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (Kansas City, MO)
2003
356
$6,630,807
Pierce Transit (Tacoma, WA)
2007
391
$6,200,000
Bee-Line (Westchester Co)
2006
410
$9,700,000
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
Customized Community Transportation (Philadelphia, PA)
2007
500
$17,800,000
San Diego Transit, North County Transit District (San Diego, CA)
2004
515
$8,400,000
Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority (Austin, TX)
2006
599
$12,141,865
Valley Metro (Phoenix, AZ)
2002
740
$14,800,000
TransLink (Vancouver, BC)
2006
1,296
$30,434,783
Metro Transit (Houston, TX)
2003
1,315
$20,000,000
New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority
paratransit (New York, NY)
2006
1,329
$16,000,000
King County Metro (Seattle, WA)
2007
1,449
$25,000,000
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Washington, DC)
2001
1,700
$8,500,000
ChicagoTransit Authority (Chicago, IL)
2007
1,900
$24,000,000

The data suggest $10,000 to $20,000 per vehicle as a general rule of thumb for capital costs. Although the AVL systems identified were similar, there was some variation in the specific scope of each system (including subsystems) and communication enhancements required by each agency.

SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE FINDINGS

Table 10 of the report, summarize the cumulative capital costs for bus AVL (including costs for vehicles and central systems). Mobile radio system enhancements were not included.

Table 10 (System Non-communications Capital Costs on a Per Vehicle Basis)

Capital Costs
% of Agencies
$10,000 or less
22.2
$10,001 - $20,000
33.3
$20,001 - $30,000
25.9
$30,001 - $40,000
3.7
$40,001 - $50,000
3.7
$50,001 - $60,000
0.0
$60,001 - $70,000
0.0
$70,001 - $80,000
0.0
$80,001 - $90,000
0.0
$90,001 - $100,000
7.4
More than $100,000
3.7

The costs below excerpted from Table 11 of the report summarize system capital costs for mobile communications system enhancements needed to support the bus AVL system.

Table 11 (System Communications Capital Costs on a Per Vehicle Basis)

Capital Costs
% of Agencies
$1,000 or less
38.1
$1,001 - $2,000
19.0
$2,001 - $3,000
9.5
$3,001 - $4,000
9.5
$4,001 - $5,000
9.5
$5,001 - $6,000
0.0
$6,001 - $7,000
0.0
$7,001 - $8,000
4.8
$8,001 - $9,000
9.5
$9,001 - $10,000
0.0
More than $10,000
0.0



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Source

AVL Systems for Bus Transit: Update (TCRP Synthesis 73)

Author: Doug J. Parker

Published By: Federal Transit Administration

Source Date: 2008

URL: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_syn_73.pdf

System Cost

AVL systems for bus transit: $10K to $20K per vehicle

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Cost ID: 2009-00190