Define clear goals for a comprehensive transit ITS deployment program and track the achievement of those goals to evaluate program's success.
Washoe County’s experience implementing a comprehensive transit ITS program.
Made Public Date
11/08/2011

250

Reno
Nevada
United States
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Identifier
2011-00601

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

Define clear goals for a comprehensive transit ITS deployment program and track the achievement of those goals to evaluate program's success.

Project evaluators reported on the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County, Nevada's success in achieving the major goals for its transit ITS program. Key performance metrics are presented below.

Goal 1: Make public transportation more attractive to the general public.

  • Since AVL data has been used to track fixed-route schedule adherence, on-time performance is documented between 86 percent and 88 percent.
  • Since fiscal year (FY) 2006, fixed-route vehicles have experienced a 50 percent decrease in missed trips due to mechanical reasons.

Goal 2: Maximize passenger movements.

  • Ridership on fixed-route services rose between FY20021 and FY2008 by 10.8 percent.
  • From 2002 to 2007, paratransit ridership has increased by 5.1 percent.
  • Paratransit trip “no-shows” have dropped 45 percent between FY2005 and FY2008.

Goal 3: Reduce operational costs. Data show that this goal was not fulfilled for most measures, which is an indication that a comprehensive transit ITS program would likely increase an agency’s overall operating costs.

  • The size of the planning, administrative and management staffs at RTC ACCESS and RTC RIDE have stayed constant, despite the increase in passenger trips provided.
  • Fixed-route operating costs increased by 64 percent between 2002 and 2007, and operating cost per passenger trip increased 48 percent.
  • Paratransit operating costs have increased by 30 percent between 2002 and 2007, and operating cost per passenger trip have increased by 23 percent.
  • Overtime operating hours dropped 30 percent between FY2005 and FY2008.

Goal 4: Reduce emissions/energy use.

  • The increased transit usage in Washoe County between 2002 and 2007 potentially saved 9.37 million personal (passenger car) vehicle miles, and the resulting estimated total fuel cost savings for this period is estimated be as high as $1.37 million.
  • Due to potentially lesser use of passenger cars and the corresponding increased use of transit, the total CO2 emission reduction in the Reno-Sparks area is estimated to be as high as 4,252 metric tons.

Goal 5: Improve public transportation safety.

  • Since FY2006, RTC RIDE has experienced a 50 percent decrease in missed trips for mechanical reasons.

Goal 6: Increase the awareness of ITS benefits.

  • Since FY2002, customer complaints per 1,000 passengers for paratransit service have decreased by 45 percent.
  • Calls requesting traveler information have increased by approximately 15 percent since 2006.

It is evident from these results that 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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