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Thoughts on Transit

Terminology Every Transit Agency Should Know (Part 4: M-P)

by Ecolane / December 16, 2014

Transit fleet maintenance practices can significantly improve when using the right technology. Instead of observations made at the maintenance facility, vehicles can now generate and store observations about themselves. Fuel management systems can measure real-time consumable usage, and record-keeping systems enable better analysis, forecasting and preventative maintenance planning. In part four of our continuing series on Terminology Every Transit Agencies Should Know (M-P) we investigate how transit technology facilitates better decision-making about transit products and services.

Mean Distance Between Failures (MDBF) – The average miles a transit vehicle travels before the vehicle is removed from service due to the failure of a vital component. Is your agency monitoring, tracking and planning for this? The Guidebook: Managing Operating Costs for Rural and Small Urban Public Transit Systems, published by Texas A&M University, states that calculating the number of miles between mechanical failures can tell you how well your maintenance program is performing. Software that tracks vehicle mileage and maintenance with fully automated processes can save time and effort.

Modal Split – Describes how many people use alternative modes of transportation, particularly the percentage using public transportation versus private automobiles. What is the percentage in your area? What are you doing to improve it? Not knowing the modal split for your area may mean missing opportunities, but you can improve it by accommodating new populations, such as the Silver Tsunami.

Off-Peak Period – The off-peak period represents the time of day when travel activity decreases and less transit service is typically scheduled. Have you scheduled for this time in the most efficient way possible? Public Transit and the Time-Based Fare Structure, published by the University of Illinois at Chicago, notes that; “during the off-peak, much of the fleet sits idle, lowering revenue productivity.” A different pricing structure for peak and off-peak travel, smarter scheduling software or both may offer higher productivity and revenue.

Paratransit – Special transportation for people with disabilities who are unable to use fixed-route transportation, required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. If you still have questions, check out the “Greater Greater Washington” blog Demystifying ADA complementary paratransit. Does your agency provide these services? How are they being scheduled? Demand Response Software is the key to efficient paratransit scheduling, dispatching and information management.

Passenger Miles – Determined by multiplying the number of unlinked passenger trips by the average length of their trips, this metric represents the total number of miles traveled by passengers. Do you know your agency’s mileage numbers? Are you set up in the most efficient way possible within this mileage? Passenger miles may be used to calculate the energy efficiency of a vehicle or transportation mode (passenger miles per gallon) per Wikipedia, profitability (revenue passenger miles) per Investopedia, or simply the volume of traffic. Software offering detailed trip information, including loading/unloading times and passengers can facilitate in tracking this valuable metric. Contact us to learn more about the transit technology that can help improve your agency’s productivity.

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Tags: Paratransit

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