The Mobile Data Terminals study, published by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), defines the mobile data terminal (MDT) as "a multifunctional data collection device on board transit vehicles that performs two-way data communication and, increasingly, has the ability to locate itself in real time."
Based on survey results from over 100 transit agencies and equipment suppliers, the trend in mobile data terminals (MDTs) is toward more functionality at lower unit, installation, maintenance, and repair costs. An MDT collects various onboard data and support two-way communication between the transit vehicle and the control center. Excerpted from the source study, the MDT functionality and deployment costs at selected transit agencies are presented below.
|Transit Agency||MDT Functionality||Costs|
|Tri-County Metropolitan Transit (TriMet) District of Oregon, Portland||Fixed-route service: Download manifest to vehicle. Allow driver sign-on/sign-off and indicate driver start run/end run (revenue service). Provide automatic counting of boarding/alighting, covert alarm, and automatic communications to operations center. MDT-collected data are accompanied by GPS latitude/longitude and GPS date/time stamp.||$4,200 per unit, with installation costs ranging from $500 to $1,000.
Total units deployed: 900
|Delaware Transit Corporation||Fixed-route service: Download manifest to vehicle. Allow driver sign-on and sign-off and indicate start run/end run for revenue bus service. Provide for automatic counting of boarding and alighting. MDT emergency features include covert alarm, automatic communications to operations, local recording of video feed, and buffered video frames before the alarm is activated.
Demand-response service: Download manifest to the paratransit vehicle, automatically update schedule changes, accommodate driver sign-on and sign-off and passenger pick up and drop off.
|Costs: Not Reported
Total units deployed: 415.
|Tyler Municipal Transit (TMT), City Of Tyler, Texas||Fixed route service: Download manifest to the bus, driver sign-on and sign-off, and start run/end run for revenue service. Manually enter passenger boarding and the emergency button for a panic alarm. All data entries from the MDT-collected are accompanied by GPS latitude/longitude and GPS date/time stamp as well as a digital odometer reading.
Demand response service: Download paratransit manifest to the vehicle, automatically update schedule changes, provide for driver sign-on and sign-off, and record passenger pick up and passenger drop off.
|$3,500 per unit, with an installation cost of $125 and a yearly maintenance cost of $125
Total units deployed: 900
The majority of MDTs are used to download driver manifests, collect driver data such as sign on/sign off and start run/end run, count passengers boarding and alighting, and to function as an emergency alarm. The majority of the transit agencies participating in the survey reported capital costs for MDTs in the range of $1,000 to $4,000 per unit, with installation costs in the $500 to $1,000 range.