Develop a long term vision for an Advanced Public Transportation System (APTS).

Experience from the Cape Cod Advanced Public Transit System.

January 2003
Cape Cod,Massachusetts,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

An Advanced Public Transportation System (APTS) offers the opportunity for improved safety, mobility, productivity, and efficiency of public transportation services, but these benefits are not likely to be realized in the short term. Transit agencies must be committed to a long term vision for a fully-integrated APTS, and they must be willing to use the APTS data to innovate their services. Based on the evaluation findings, the following set of lessons learned on the potential benefits of an APTS in a rural transit environment is highlighted.
  • Develop a long-term vision for the APTS. Transit agencies must be willing to "think outside the box," and to use the data from the APTS to achieve service innovations, such as route restructuring, integrated fare payment systems, and real-time customer information. Making use of the data (rather than just collecting it) is the only way to maximize the value of an APTS.
    • Based on the availability of AVL passenger boarding and disembarking data from the APTS, CCRTA reconfigured its Hyannis area route, and evaluation findings suggest that this reconfiguration has resulted in an increase in ridership on the route.
  • Recognize that the benefits of an integrated system are likely to be greater than the sum of the benefits of individual components.
    • One of CCRTA's primary objectives for the project was to shift customers from paratransit to fixed route services through more effective fixed route service provision and structured fare incentives using electronic fare payments (EFP). This objective has not yet been realized, largely because the EFP demonstration is in the early stages, and CCRTA is just beginning to make use of the data provided by the APTS. As use of EFP is expanded and fully integrated into the APTS, it is anticipated that the benefits of the system will be greater.
  • Recognize that many of the benefits of the APTS may not be immediate, but may accrue over time. As system components are integrated and operations refined, and service changes are implemented, it is anticipated that these innovations will ultimately increase productivity, ridership and quality of service.
    • The CCRTA evaluation reveals some evidence of impacts on service productivity and safety, but in other areas (such as ridership) the impacts or benefits have yet to be established.
    • For paratransit trips, CCRTA has not changed its 24-hour advance notice system for scheduling trips; but CCRTA believes that in the long term, the combination of electronic manifest communication via the MDCs and a computerized routing and scheduling program could potentially reduce the advance scheduling window to three to four hours. However, operations staff and management need to feel completely comfortable with both the reliability of the MDCs and the capabilities of an automated routing/scheduling program before making this conversion.
Based on its experience deploying an APTS, CCRTA learned that the potential benefits of the system (such as improved safety, mobility, productivity, and efficiency of public transportation services) are likely to accrue over time, as the system becomes fully integrated. In addition, to maximize the value of the APTS, the transit agency must have a long-term vision for the system and must be willing to make operational improvements based on the data that are collected.

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Evaluation of the Cape Cod Advanced Public Transit System Phases I and II: Final Report

Author: Porter, Christopher, Lynn Ahlgren, and Louisa Yue (Cambridge Systematics, Inc.)

Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration

Source Date: January 2003

EDL Number: 14096

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/4248

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Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Christopher Porter
Cambridge Systematics

Agency Contact(s):

Lawrence Harman
Geographics Laboratory, Bridgewater State College

Lesson Analyst:

Margaret Petrella
RITA/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2008-00425