Benefits To People, Operators and the Environment
Summary As many urban passenger transport systems struggle to keep up with increased ridership, rising fuel and labor costs, congested roadways and pressure to reduce emissions, many are turning to Intelligent Transport System (ITS) solutions. ITS solutions can collect and generate valuable system operational data which can be used to optimize the transport system, increase efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve the riders’ experience. Accurate information regarding ridership and bus loading patterns can be used to optimize resources (buses, drivers and roads) required for service. When used properly, routes can adjusted to best serve the public and eliminate underutilized routes, stops and buses. Furthermore, these same ITS solutions can provide real-time and historical vehicle health monitoring which can greatly reduce cost by identifying the need for a maintenance action prior to a catastrophic failure or breakdown in service. ITS solutions can also provide real-time management oversight so that bus system managers (or the local government authority) can see if buses are providing the services that they are licensed and contracted to provide including proper route servicing, proper headway (bus spacing along the route), on-time performance and many other Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
Problem Many cities are challenged with rising population due to urbanization (and re-urbanization) of the population while infrastructure such as roads and mass transport systems are outdated and cannot support the growth. Furthermore, people with personal vehicles need to be convinced that the urban mass transport system is modern, convenient, affordable, comfortable, safe and reliable before they will give up the personal vehicle for the bus or train. Combined with rising fuel costs and choking emissions, many urban transport systems are simply unsustainable as they are today.
Clever Devices’ Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) solutions will greatly benefit the mass transport system and the overall urban areas which it services. These ITS Solutions include:
• Real-Time Fleet Management (sometimes referred to as CAD/AVL)
• Real-Time Passenger Information Systems
• Vehicle Health Monitoring
• Automatic Passenger Counting and Ridership Reporting
• Integration of Fare Payment Systems and Traffic Management Systems
Deploying these solution will result in:
• Increased Efficiency
• Reduced Operating and Maintenance Costs
• Improved Service Reliability
• Improved Riders’ Experience and Increased Ridership
• Improved Safety and Security for Bus Drivers and Passengers
Clever Devices has provided these ITS solutions to many of the largest transport systems in North America (including New York City Transit, Chicago Transit Authority, New Jersey Transit, Washington DC, Ottawa and many others) with real benefit and return on investment. The Clever Devices ITS systems are made up on ruggedized computer systems installed on the buses which provide vehicle location, vehicle health, ridership counting, on-board audible and visual announcements, information to the driver regarding on-time performance and headway management and much more. The Clever Devices ITS systems also include centralized software systems which allow dispatchers, maintenance staff and other managers to understand what is happening within the bus system both real-time and historically.
Impact on economy
The economic impact of deploying Clever Devices’ ITS solutions can be realized in multiple ways. Buses are expensive and require regular maintenance to keep them running in urban environments. Poor road conditions and extreme stop and go traffic result in poor performance and high maintenance requirements. By automating the monitoring of vehicle health and adding strategic business rules regarding maintenance actions, the cost of maintenance can be drastically reduced by identifying and repairing minor issues before they escalate to become catastrophic failures of expensive components like engines and transmissions. Breakdowns in service requiring replacement buses to be delivered and tow trucks to retrieve the broken down vehicle are high cost and also results in dissatisfied riders and further negative impacts on road traffic.
Economic impact can also be realized by understanding the ridership utilization by bus lines By understanding and applying this knowledge, planners can reduce the level of service on underutilized routes while reassigning buses and drivers to routes requiring a higher level of service. This results in significantly lower operational costs, emissions and fuel usage.
An accurate real-time passenger information system allows people to be more productive with their time. A very conservative application of this concept can show very positive economic impact in a densely populated city.
Impact on culture
Communities are greatly improved by accurate and reliable ITS systems for mass transport. Given a modern, reliable, comfortable and safe system with accurate information systems, people will utilize the buses more often. When more people use the buses instead of their personal vehicles, communities are favorably impacted by less traffic and cleaner air. People have more free time and the communities benefit economically and socially by the inhabitants being able to spend more time with their families, shop and play other roles in their community. Housing and business developments with high quality mass transport systems and amenities serving them attract residents and employees and have increased in value.
Young people without cars, people who are transit dependent, people who choose not to drive and people with disabilities all benefit from mass transport systems enhanced with ITS system. Providing accurate, real-time, bus stop announcements assists people who are blind or visually impaired to ride a fixed-route bus instead of a taxi or paratransit bus. This results in greater independent living as well as reduced cost of operation for the transport system provider.
Impact on ecology The implementation of ITS solutions can have a definitive, positive effect on climate. Optimizing route servicing and better maintenance of buses will results in reduced fuel usage and reduced emissions. Making transport system performance better and more informative will result in people switching from private vehicles to public buses which will again reduce fuel usage and emissions.
Impact on politics
Public Transportation projects are often funded by government agencies and the positive impact these projects have on the environment and communities reflect well on the politicians who support them. Specific areas could be considered more safe and secure - real-time data on public transportation arrival times means minimized waiting times at bus stops, thereby reducing a chance for a passenger to become a 'target'. The data collected by the system could be utilized by agencies to better understand where & when buses are needed allowing them to plan better and help improve traffic conditions.
The benefits include an overall better quality of life for the citizens.