Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Intelligent Transportation System Implementation Evaluation Study
Beginning in 2000, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County, Nevada, began planning for ITS implementation into their regional transit services. They set goals that aligned with the U.S. DOT's six goal areas for ITS projects and applied for funding for their project through the FTA. By 2007, RTC had completed the installation, testing and acceptance of the ITS components. This report is an evaluation of RTC transit ITS. It covers both planned and deployed components of their system, evaluating how well the system works to meet their initial goals and describing the functionality of the various components of the system. The report also includes lessons learned by RTC as they progressed through the procurement, deployment and operation processes in order to be a resource for other agencies contemplating similar ITS investments. RTC deployed automatic vehicle location (AVL), remote engine diagnostics (RED), computer-aided dispatch software (CAD), and automatic passenger counters (APC) in their vehicles. They also installed, but have not activated traffic signal priority (TSP) components.
The RTC looked at data points over a six year period, from FY2002 to FY2008 in order to evaluate how the ITS technologies may have affected ridership and uses of the systems by customers, staff and administration. A large pre-implementation window was used for analysis because RTC ACCESS (the paratransit service) began using scheduling software in 2005, ahead of the rest of the system and the same time scale was wanted for the analysis of both fixed-route and paratransit services. Each of the six U.S. DOT goal areas were assigned measures to evaluate RTC's progress in that goal area.
RTC uses the automatic passenger counters (APC) installed on all RTC RIDE buses to get bus stop level data on passenger boardings and alightings. RTC uses this data to determine appropriate amenities for peak level loads at each stop, whether it consists of shelters, benches, or trash cans. Because of the software procured for this project, RTC was able to provide data to Google Transit as a means for providing customers with a trip planning tool through a link on their website. Real-time bus arrival/departure information can be found on computer monitors at RTC CITICENTER, which is served by 19 of RTC RIDE’s routes, or by calling customer service for information about the location of their bus. As a result of better scheduling and information, customer service representatives for RTC ACCESS have seen a 45 percent decrease in the number of complaints. Remote engine diagnostics (RED) were installed on all fleet vehicles, reducing RTC missed trips due to mechanical problems by 50 percent between FY 2006 and FY2008, which left less passengers stranded at bus stops.