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Thoughts on Transit

A Day in the Life of a Trip with Ecolane

by Ecolane / January 3, 2017

The purpose of public transportation is to help people get from point A to point B when they need to. Whether they have special needs that don’t allow them to drive themselves or they live in a major city and public transit is their main source of transportation, each trip consists of a pickup and a drop off to suit their needs. With Ecolane route scheduling software you can break each trip down by four processes; initial optimization, batch optimization, real-time optimization, and post drop-off optimization. By adding automation to every part of the trip, from reservation to after drop-off, these four processes are what help to separate Ecolane software from competitors.

Initial Optimization

The life cycle of any trip starts with the initial reservation request that can be done in multiple ways. Reservations can be made by phone, through the online self-service portal,  by batch uploading a larger number of trips to the portal, or through the available API the allows 3rd party applications to book trips. Once the reservations have been initiated the software will start a process to optimize the ideal route scheduling to accommodate all requests based on similar routes and time requests. Once the scheduling optimization is complete the system will automatically send a confirmation to the riders with estimated times for pickup, drop-off, and total ride duration.

Batch Optimization

Once the initial optimization cycle is complete, the system will perform a batch optimization process in which all schedules are taken apart and restructured in the system to be optimized. The process is done by breaking down all trips by pickup and drop-off window, and length of the trip. As Douglas Spears of Ecolane stated, “You can’t have a strong structure without a good foundation.  Think of it like building a home, you start by pouring a foundation then putting up walls and then adding the roof.”  The system will prioritize schedules to create the best possible foundation for efficiency.

mdt-1.pngReal-time Optimization

This portion of the trip is kicked off by the vehicle arriving at the pickup location and boarding passengers. The drivers are an integral part of managing the schedule from this point on. The system assists by sending real-time updates and route schedules to the driver’s tablet. These updates include changes in reservations and cancellations, which helps to avoid no-shows. At this point, the drop-off time is still an estimation. Drivers can input pickups and drop-offs on their tablets and the system will update the route schedule accordingly.

Post Drop-off Optimization

After a trip has ended the reporting continues through the trip life cycle and all data recorded during each trip, including passenger information and trip duration, is automatically submitted to a database in the system. This data is stored in the database to be used for automation with future trips. While the input from the driver is a responsibility, As long as the driver has pressed the buttons at the correct place and time, the MDT automatically records the driver’s input.  

With many challenges facing the transit industry, real-time automation is a major differentiator in the public transit and paratransit industries. Having the ability to be agile and not sacrifice route efficiency while under the pressure of constant schedule changes, is the key to standing out from competitors. Additionally, modern transit software can be implemented without incurring serious financial strain.

To help combat the perfect storm of challenges facing the transit industry today and learn more about the implementation process with Ecolane, download our free LAP eBook.

Route Scheduling Software

Tags: Demand Response Software

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