An evaluation of scheduling software for the paratransit service in Billings, Montana found that the break-even point for savings as a result of the software implementation was a three percent improvement in efficiency.

May 2, 2007
Billings,Montana,United States

Summary Information

The METropolitan Special Transit (MST) in Billings, Montana operates a paratransit service between the hours of 6:30 AM and 6:00 PM during the weekdays and between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM on Saturdays. On a typical day, MST provides 250 to 300 rides, approximately half of which are subscription based, meaning the same rides occur at the same time each day. The MST has 15 paratransit vehicles, half of which are out at any particular time, but on busy days, as many as 12 vehicles may be in service depending on ride requests, the time of day, and the geographic location of origins and destinations.

In 2007, the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) of Montana State University-Bozeman published a report evaluating the installation of computer-assisted scheduling and dispatching (CASD) software and automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology at MST.

The CASD software selected by MET was the RouteMatch software. To evaluate the software implementation, MET Transit considered several performance measures to measure system efficiency and performance. Cost per ride was one of the metrics considered. However, there was not sufficient data available account for all the variables and to perform a cost per ride comparison. MET Transit did however, perform a break-even analysis to determine how much would have to be saved on an annual basis to make the software cost effective.

The break-even analysis took into account the cost of the Routematch software and hardware over a five-year lifespan and the annual software maintenance fee. These costs were added to MET Transit's costs for the year 2005 to determine the cost per hour and the cost per mile. To reach the break-even point, the revenue hours in 2006 would need to be reduced by 500 and the miles by 5,744.

  • A three percent reduction in mileage or revenue hours is all that is required for the software to "pay for itself".
  • Comparing the before and after data, the RouteMatch software enabled a seven percent increase in rides per hour of service and just over a three percent increase in rides per mile.

The break-even analysis did not take into consideration any additional benefits that may be achieved by using the RouteMatch software, such as the reduction in time to compile system performance reports and invoicing; therefore, the improvements in efficiency are conservative.

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An Evaluation of RouteMatch Software in the Billings MET Special Transit System

Author: Kack, David and Deepu Philip

Published By: Western Transportation Institute, College of Engineering Montana State University

Source Date: May 2, 2007



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Goal Areas


Typical Deployment Locations

Rural Areas


paratransit, demand-responsive transit

Benefit ID: 2008-00540