Develop requirements using widely accepted standards, preferably the open source compatible ones if available, and review those requirements immediately before requesting proposals from contractors.
Washoe County’s experience implementing a comprehensive transit ITS program.
Made Public Date
12/22/2011

250

Reno
Nevada
United States
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Identifier
2011-00608

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Intelligent Transportation System Implementation Evaluation Study

Background

In 1999, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County, Nevada entered into a cooperative agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to procure and implement Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) for its fixed-route and paratransit services. RTC's transit ITS deployment initiative was a multi-year funding project and the total cost agreed to was $4,750,000, with a funding split of 80 percent federal and 20 local. RTC began the procurement process in 2000, the implementation in 2002, and completed implementation and acceptance testing in 2007. RTC staff and its passengers have become accustomed to the system and its functionality. Key ITS technologies deployed were:

  • Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) on fixed-route, paratransit and supervisor vehicles
  • Computer-Aided Dispatch
  • Paratransit Scheduling and Reservation Software
  • Fixed-Route Scheduling Software
  • DataMart™
  • Automated Passenger Counters
  • Real-Time Traveler Information for Fixed-Route Vehicles
  • Remote Engine Diagnostics
  • Automated Stop Announcements
  • Transit Signal Priority
  • Mobile Supervisor

An evaluation report, entitled "Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Transit Intelligent Transportation System Implementation Evaluation" was published in March 2010. The project evaluators compared baseline pre-transit ITS data and post-transit ITS data, measured the quantitative and qualitative impacts on operational efficiency, observed how RTC staff performed their responsibilities, and identified a set of lessons learned.

Lessons Learned

Agencies must endeavor to develop system requirements with input from various functional staff groups, who will use the system. The relevant lessons learned from the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County’s transit ITS deployment experience in developing system requirements are presented below.

  • Review system requirements immediately before requesting contract proposals. Developing system requirements can be a time-consuming process. There are many agency staff user groups who will provide input, including technical and non-technical staff, before the requirements are released to potential contractors. Reviews can delay the release of Request for Proposals (RFP), and during that delay the underlying transit ITS technologies may change. Therefore, it is imperative that requirements are reviewed and updated immediately before an RFP is released.
  • Use widely accepted standards, preferably the open source compatible ones if available, in developing system requirements. At RTC, the procurement process from RFP to contracting was delayed due to a series of factors, which resulted in the agency getting some functionality that had become unnecessary or not state-of-the-art. A specific example of this was the requirement for a wireless data network to communicate between vehicles in the maintenance yard and the ITS servers. The wireless network supplied by the contractor was PROXIM, a proprietary wireless protocol. While it was suitable at the time the requirements were written, an open standard (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) has emerged. The rapid success of the open standard resulted in the PROXIM system quickly becoming obsolete. RTC had difficulty getting technical support for or buying replacement of PROXIM hardware.

    RTC eventually converted its network to the open standard at its own expense. Had RTC been able to make last-minute changes and perform a review of its requirements immediately before release to potential contractors, the additional expense of the conversion may have been avoided.
  • Clearly delineate where contractors shall be using open standards. Open and widely-accepted standards should be used wherever possible in the development of requirements. The developer of the requirements should be knowledgeable of the National ITS Architecture and any other network or communications standards that will be affected by transit ITS. The requirements should clearly identify where contractors will be expected to use open standards.

Agencies should develop requirements using widely accepted standards, preferably the open source compatible ones if available, and update those requirements immediately before requesting proposals from contractors. RTC has largely achieved the goals of its transit ITS deployment program and benefited significantly in many ways including better schedule adherence, increased ridership, reduced emissions, and increased customer satisfaction.

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Intelligent Transportation System Implementation Evaluation Study

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Intelligent Transportation System Implementation Evaluation Study
Publication Sort Date
05/01/2010
Author
Tina Wu, Matt Weatherford, Ancila Kaiparambil, Linna Zhang
Publisher
Federal Transit Administration U.S. Department of Transportation

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System Engineering Elements

Focus Areas Taxonomy: