Technology in the transit industry is continually and rapidly evolving. Where scheduling and dispatching was once done manually, web-based software can now provide real-time schedule optimization. Drivers began using GPS software instead of local maps to find their way just 14 years ago, and vehicle location technology now allows dispatchers to monitor vehicle activity more effectively. In part three of our continuing series on Terminology Every Transit Agencies Should Know (F-L) we explore terms that either focus on, or benefit from, evolving transit technology.
Fixed Route – Repetitive, fixed-schedule service for a specific route with the same origin and destination, offering passenger boarding and alighting at specific locations. A fixed-route is essentially the opposite of the demand responsive route we defined in part two of this topic. Are all your fixed routes scheduled and routed in a way that is most efficient for your agency? As stated in a previous blog, routes and schedules have traditionally been rigid whether they were efficient or not, but “modern transit software provides real time information that can instantly optimize current schedules and routes.”
Headway – Quoting the Glossary of Transit Terminology published by the American Public Transit Association, headway is the “time interval between vehicles moving in the same direction on a particular route.” Headway is a key component when calculating your route capacity and it can determine how long your fixed route customers have to wait. Is this monitored and tracked by your agency to ensure efficiency?
Intelligent Vehicle Highway System – An “IVHS” is an automated highway transportation system, or a group of technologies, that can improve safety, traffic monitoring and management, save energy and reduce congestion by providing more information and control. An example of this technology is the Automatic Vehicle Location System, or “AVLS.” Is your agency utilizing modern technology to improve route scheduling and timing? The Intelligent Vehicle Highway Society of America (IVHS AMERICA) is playing a leading role in the design of a strategic plan for IVHS development and national deployment, and offers a glimpse of the technologies you may soon encounter.
Layover Time – This refers to the time built into a schedule between the destination arrival and the return trip departure to allow for schedule delays as well as return trip preparation. Is this monitored and tracked at your agency to ensure high efficiency? Did you know MDT (mobile data tablet) software can display arrival time windows for every stop and pick-up vehicle? Read the Transit Technology Spotlight: Mobile Data Tablets blog for more on what MDTs have to offer.
Load Factor – The load factor is the ratio of passengers actually carried versus the vehicle’s total passenger capacity. Do you know yours? According to Transit 101: The Load Factor in About.com; “most transit properties have the same load factor no matter how often the particular route operates…this is poor customer service.” Fortunately there is software that can optimize schedules and increase productivity. If you would like to learn more about it, contact us and we will be happy to discuss our software solutions.