Benefit

Fare collection systems that use electronic tickets or passes can reduce passenger boarding times by 13 percent compared to driver operated systems that require exact change.

Multi-national experience with bus rapid transit (BRT) services


February 2009
Nationwide,United States


Summary Information

This report describes the physical components, operational functions, and performance characteristics of bus rapid transit (BRT) services implemented in the United States and internationally over the last several years. As an update to the 2004 version of the CBRT report, this release provides additional information and data on the benefits and costs of incremental upgrades used to improve existing bus services and support project planning and alternatives analysis.

The most common ITS applications implemented for BRT individually or as a combined integrated systems include:
  • Transit signal priority (passive, active, adaptive)
  • Collision warning and avoidance
  • Lane Assist (vehicle guidance)
  • Precision docking
  • Fare payment (off-board and on-board)
  • Automatic vehicle location
  • Passenger information (stop/station and in-vehicle)


BRT system performance was assessed using six key performance attributes: travel time, reliability, identity and image, safety and security, capacity, and accessibility. The potential of ITS applications to impact different performance attributes was summarized in the table below.

ITS Application
Travel Time Savings
Reliability
Identify and Image
Safety and Security
Capacity
Accessibility
Fare Collection Process
x
x
x
x
x
Fare Media / Payment Options
x
x
x
x
x
Fare Structure
x
x
x
Vehicle Prioritization
x
x
x
x
Intelligent Vehicle Systems
x
x
x
x
x
Operations Management Systems
x
x
x
x
Passenger Information Systems
x
x
x
x
Safety and Security Systems
x

Findings from real-world experience with BRT ITS applications are highlighted below:


Transit Fare Collection

Fare collection elements can be used to expedite efficient boarding (reduce dwell times), increase ridership and revenue, improve customer satisfaction, and provide data for enhanced marketing, planning, and operations. Fare collection equipment can be stand alone or part of an integrated system. For example, on-board systems (such as farebox or smart card readers) can communicate independently or use “smart bus� communication systems to interface with AVL/GPS systems and automatic passenger counting (APC) systems to record the location of individual transactions, track bus load data, and provide detailed boarding profiles on BRT routes.

Findings from a literature search conducted during the project indicated that station dwell time can comprise as much as 30 percent of the total travel time for transit and make up to as much as 40 percent of total delay time depending on the level of congestion (TCRP Operational Analysis of Bus Lanes on Arterials, 1997). When fare transactions take place on the vehicle, the fare transaction media type can impact station dwell time.
  • Compared to fare collection by a driver using exact change, flash pass systems or (smart cards or magnetic swipe cards) can reduce passenger boarding time by 13 percent from an average of 3.5 to 4 seconds per passenger.
  • With respect to flash pass type systems, smart card technologies were found to be more effective than magnetic stripe card technologies.
  • In addition, electronic fare collection systems and pre-paid instruments make dwell times more reliable, primarily by reducing the need for boarding passengers to search for exact change and by reducing transaction times.

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Source

Characteristics of Bus Rapid Transit for Decision-Making (CBRT) 2009 Update

Author: Diaz, Roderick B. and Dennis Hinebaugh (National Bus Rapid Transit Institute)

Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Transit Administration

Source Date: February 2009

Other Reference Number: Report No. FTA-FL-26-7109.2009.1

URL: http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/CBRT_2009_Update.pdf

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Goal Areas

Mobility

Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas

Keywords

smart cards, electronic fare payment, SmartCard, smart card, SmartCards

Benefit ID: 2012-00786