The Denver Regional Transportation District deployed a regional transit AVL/CAD system for $10.4 million; O&M costs were estimated at $1.9 million.
Made Public Date


United States

Summary Information

The Denver RTD implemented an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to upgrade communications, improve safety, and monitor bus schedule adherence in real time. RTD equipped its entire fleet (buses, light rail cars, and supervisor and maintenance vehicles) with AVL/CAD. Of the 1,335 fleet, 980 were dedicated to fixed route service, and in 1997, the system served more than 71 million passengers. The system was designed to track the location of fleet vehicles. This enabled RTD to dynamically route and schedule vehicles, and provide real-time transit schedule information to passengers waiting at major bus transfer points in downtown Denver.

The fixed costs of the AVL/CAD system totaled $10,400,000. This included radio equipment, computer hardware and software, initial support, training materials and documentation, and other miscellaneous one-time costs. Annual O&M costs were estimated at $1,897,627 which included the total cost of ongoing salaries and the equipment needed for O&M in 1997.

For a more detailed breakdown of the driver communication compoments of the larger AVL/CAD system see the system cost summary - Detailed communications equipment costs for the Denver Regional Transportation District regional transit AVL/CAD system.

The following capital costs were detailed in the report:

System Software · $1,394,635. Costs included AVL software development, base console operation software, data interface software, the modifications required to meet the needs of RTD, and installation.

Dispatch Center Hardware · $1,247,866. Costs included dispatch center hardware at all three centers for the Denver AVL system including the base radio communications hardware, radio/data computers, the AVL consoles used by dispatchers to track the field vehicles, and installation.

In-Vehicle Hardware · $5,231,814. Costs in-vehicle hardware included everything on the inside and outside of the equipped vehicle enabling it to send and receive data and voice communications such as GPS/In-Vehicle Logic Unit/Transit Control Head, odometer readers, and antennas. This cost also included AVL equipment used by field supervisors and maintenance, such as mobile data terminals, and installation.

Field Communication Hardware · $1,451,940. Field communication hardware costs included all devices other than vehicle or dispatch center equipment required to establish communications. This included microwave radio transmitters and antennas.

Initial Training · $148,662. This cost included training for dispatchers, operators, and street supervisors.

Planning and Implementation · $852,672. Planning and implementation costs included any charges to the preparation or actual deployment of the AVL system. This included the cost of overseeing the implementation, and any costs incurred during the planning stage. There were no direct costs from RTD since all labor came from existing RTD staff.

Other Costs · $72,451. Costs included remote location station signboard interface integration install only. During implementation, the AVL system was integrated with the electronic display boards in the downtown Denver stations. Through these signs, the integrated system should be able report the actual departure time of routes.

The following O&M costs were detailed in the report:

Maintenance Costs · $174,223. Costs include the cost of maintaining all AVL equipment not in the vehicle such as AVL manager salary and costs, central processor maintenance, wireline communications and microwave towers maintenance, AVL manager station maintenance, software maintenance, and peripherals (i.e. hard drives, printers) maintenance.

Operation Costs · $1,723,404. Costs included the salaries of dispatchers at all three dispatch locations (Metro, Boulder, Light rail), as well as maintaining the equipment such as microwave towers, power used by the AVL system and communication towers, office supplies (i.e., paper, floppy disks), and salary and benefits for 25 to 30 full- and part-time dispatchers.