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Thoughts on Transit

Terminology Every Transit Agencies Should Know (Part 5: Pe-Z)

by Ecolane / January 8, 2015

The commuting habits of your customers are constantly changing due to their income, gasoline prices, job changes, lifestyle changes (like retirement), and new alternative transportation options. In part five of our continuing series on Terminology Every Transit Agencies Should Know we explore terms while focusing on commuting and commuters.

Peak Period – This term represents the time transit riding is heaviest, typically in the morning and afternoon. According to the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey Report “Commuting in the United States: 2009,” “those who relied on public transportation had the longest commutes across all departure-time categories, especially in the earliest departure categories.” Have you scheduled this in a way that effectively and efficiently serves all of your passengers?

Peak/Base Ratio – Calculate this by dividing the number of operated vehicles during the peak period by the number of operated vehicles during the base period. The peak/base ratio (PBR) can be used to calculate your cost per vehicle mile, and cost per vehicle hour, and to estimate future operating costs. Are you monitoring and tracking this ratio? Can it be improved?

Ridership – This is reflected by the number of public transportation rides taken by people in a specified time period. “Public Transit and the Time-Based Fare Structure,” published by the University of Illinois at Chicago, makes a case for a different pricing structure for peak and off-peak travel, possibly motivating off-peak riders to increase their ridership during this time. Are you monitoring and tracking this? What can you do to improve your ridership?”

Rolling Stock – “The vehicles used in a transit system, including buses and rail cars” according to the American Public Transit Association’s “Glossary of Transit Terminology.” The U.S. Census’ “Commuting in the United States: 2009” survey indicates that almost 7 million people were using public transportation to travel to work that year, with the majority leaving between 6:00am - 8:30am. Are you utilizing your rolling stock in the most efficient way possible?”

Route Miles – “The total number of miles in a fixed route transit system network,” per the “Glossary of Transit Terminology.” Have you evaluated each route to ensure that they all have the lowest possible miles?” In the U.S. Census’ “Commuting in the United States: 2009” survey; “Metropolitan area size has a considerable bearing on mean travel time. The 10 metro areas with the shortest mean travel times have populations of fewer than 300,000 people. …Among the 10 metro areas with the longest travel times, several are among the nation’s most populous.”

Minimizing travel time might mean increasing mileage, but increased mileage may mean more frequent maintenance costs. Management software for fixed route transportation systems can give your agency the edge. Contact us to find out how we can help.


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Tags: Transit Operations

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