Vermont's Trip Planner Using GTFS-Flex Data Experienced a 16 Percent Increase in Daily Visitors Over a Year of Operations.

Vermont Launched a Trip Planner to Aid Transit Travelers by Including Flexible Transit Options Such As Route Deviation and Dial-A-Ride.

Date Posted
09/29/2023
Identifier
2023-B01792
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Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) OpenTripPlanner, Evaluation Report

Summary Information

The OpenTripPlanner (OTP), developed by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), serving the Vermont area, provides the public with a mobile application to facilitate transit trip planning. The VTrans OTP project, part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox program, developed a new trip planner called Go! Vermont which was launched in February 2018. The program aimed to provide an alternative to other trip planners by including flexible transit options such as route deviation and dial-a-ride. 

This study documented the results of an independent evaluation of the Go! Vermont app that examined eight hypotheses using four different approaches: 

  1. comparing the trip itineraries of Google Maps and the OTP using simulated origin and destination (OD) data
  2. analyzing web traffic data to determine the attractiveness of the Go! Vermont website to trip makers
  3. conducting user surveys
  4. holding expert (stakeholder/project partner) interviews to uncover any lessons learned. 

Data collected from 2018 and 2019 were utilized for evaluation.

METHODOLOGY

The Go! Vermont trip planner developed in this study used General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS)-Flex data to display flexible transit services in trip itineraries for input OD pairs. It was implemented exclusively as a website that could thematically adapt to all mobile platforms. Go! Vermont’s target user audience was all residents of Vermont, especially the residents living in rural areas, residents with disabilities, and older adults. For the trip itinerary comparison approach, a total of 61 OD pairs were generated and input into both Google Maps and Go! Vermont. The number of options, including flexible transit services, was measured and recorded for each pair in each respective planner. For the second approach of analyzing website traffic, historical ridership and web traffic data were obtained through the analytics platform of the Go! Vermont trip planner website. As for the third evaluation approach, two user surveys were conducted to collect opinions on the features of the Go! Vermont trip planner: one on 13 transit operators and the other on eight users from general public. Six expert interviews were conducted with people directly connected to the project team and who had deep knowledge of the project. 

FINDINGS

  • Results from the website traffic data analysis showed that there was about a 16 percent increase in the average number of daily site visitors from 5.3 to 6.13 comparing the data from the beginning and the end of the evaluation period of one year from March 2018 to March 2019.
  • The results from the transit operator surveys revealed that 46 percent of the respondents reported that Go! Vermont was better or much better for trip planning than Google Maps, while about a third (31 percent) considered it to be about the same. 
  • Of those surveyed, 86 percent of the respondents considered Go! Vermont as an improvement at various levels (significant, modest, or slight) for Vermont as a trip planning initiative. However, due to the small sample size (eight users), the results cannot be considered as indicative of any trends.

Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) OpenTripPlanner, Evaluation Report

Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Vermont Agency of Transportation
(VTrans) OpenTripPlanner, Evaluation Report
Source Publication Date
02/01/2021
Author
Martin, Elliot; Aqshems Nichols; Adam Cohen; Susan Shaheen; and Les Brown
Publisher
Prepared by University of California, Berkeley and ICF for USDOT FTA
Results Type
Deployment Locations