An Integrated Dynamic Transit Operation System for Suburban Transit Decreased Connecting Passengers’ Average Waiting Time by 24 to 31 Minutes.

Field Operational Test in Contra Costa County, California Evaluated the Benefits of Connection Protection Provided by a Prototype Integrated Dynamic Transit Operation System.

Date Posted

Development and Field Testing of An Integrated Dynamic Transit Operation System (IDTO)

Summary Information

Suburban transit agencies can face challenges in improving transit operation efficiency cost-effectiveness due to a wide geographic service area, often resulting in long headways between vehicles and long waiting times which discourage users. An Integrated Dynamic Transit Operation (IDTO) system in Contra Costa County, California, was developed to enable enhanced connectivity, reduce travel time and improve operations for suburban transit agencies. A prototype system, including the IDTO server, a dispatch interface and a traveler mobile app, was developed and field tested with several Tri-Delta Transit (TDT) bus routes and San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) routes connecting at identified points. The IDTO system prototype included the transit connection protection (T-CONNECT) application which aims to improve transfers by extending the wait time of outbound buses to meet connecting riders at transfer stops.


A field operational test of the IDTO prototype was conducted from July 25th to August 11th, 2017, focusing on the T-CONNECT application on selected TDT routes and at key connection points between buses and BART in eastern Contra Costa County. The testing scenarios included both bus to bus and rail to bus connections. The benefits and improvements due to the IDTO system were evaluated by analyzing the operational data collected during the field test, using the following criteria:

  • Capability of trip delay detection: The automatic vehicle location data were processed to extract the time-of-arrival of each trip, and these results were then compared with the estimated time of arrival (ETA) recorded in the T-CONNECT log so that the correctness of T-CONNECT requests could be determined.
  • Correspondence with manual connection protection requests: This measure represented the extent to which the IDTO system can replace the conventional connection requests manually made by passengers and drivers via phone calls.
  • Savings on passenger’s trip time: This measure reflects how T-CONNECT helped passengers in making transfers by comparing passenger trip time with and without T-CONNECT.
  • Improvement on the success rate of connections: This measure was calculated as the ratio of successful connections to all connections. A connection was considered successful when the difference between the inbound arrival time and outbound departure time was at least one minute for bus-bus transfers or five minutes for bus-BART transfers. This evaluated how effectively the system improved the overall connection success rate.


  • The IDTO prototype correctly identified 85.5 percent of all trip delays during the field test and the precision of T-CONNECT requests of the IDTO prototype reached 72.3 percent. The system can effectively detect trip delays and submit T-CONNECT requests to hold the connecting bus.
  • The field test results indicated that the success rate of connections increased from 80.2 percent without T-CONNECT to 97.1 percent with the T-CONNECT application.
  • The average passenger waiting time decreased by 23.8 minutes for bus-bus connections and 30.7 minutes for BART-bus connections, as a result of the vehicle holding service provided by the IDTO T-CONNECT application.
  • The T-CONNECT requests matched well with the passengers’ manual phone requests for connection protection. This indicated that the IDTO prototype can fulfill passengers’ actual needs for requesting connection protection services through automatic T-CONNECT requests.

Development and Field Testing of An Integrated Dynamic Transit Operation System (IDTO)

Development and Field Testing of An Integrated Dynamic Transit Operation System (IDTO)
Source Publication Date
Meng, Huadong; Dachuan Li; Lu Li; Eric Kim; Justin Picar; Yun Xiang; and Wei-Bin Zhang
California Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH)
Other Reference Number
Report CA18-2663
Goal Areas
Results Type
Deployment Locations