Some additional ITS strategies that can be used to make transit more attractive and accessible throughout corridors include integrated multimodal electronic payment; automated transit service coordination, such as connection protection; and HOV or HOT lanes. Integrated multimodal electronic payment systems allow customers to pay for tolls, transit and parking using a single electronic payment instrument (e.g., smart card) and a single customer account. They support different transit fare structures and allow transit agencies to change fares to help control demand during changing corridor conditions (e.g., lower fares during a freeway incident to provide an incentive for drivers to shift to transit). Integrated multimodal electronic payment systems make paying for transportation services more convenient by not requiring people to carry cash or exact change and allowing people to pay for services among multiple transportation systems and agencies using one medium. They expedite travel through toll lanes and parking lanes and reduce dwell times at transit stops. In addition, connection protection automates service coordination at designated transfer locations, making transit service more seamless and convenient, and helps to ensure that riders make their connections to less frequent transit service, such as commuter or feeder bus routes. HOV and HOT lane facilities provide near free-flow travel speeds and accommodate BRT operations, reducing travel times and improving travel time reliability and bus schedule adherence.
Focusing on the Customer: Transit Takes a Systems View
According to FTA Administrator James Simpson, the FTA is shifting its focus to reflect this need to manage the transportation as a system from the customers’ points of view. “Don’t think mode, think people,” he states. “I believe that we must stop thinking in terms of mode — no more highways versus transit or bus versus rail. Instead, we must think in terms of people and focus on our customers.”
In order to be successful in continuing this shift in focus to the customer, transit agencies must think about long-term solutions. Agencies must also commit to working proactively with their corridor partners to define and manage the corridor as an integrated system. “To accomplish the goals of ICM, all our partner agency representatives put away their badges, as we intend to operate our corridor in a true multimodal, integrated, efficient and safe fashion where the focus is on the transportation customer,” says Koorosh Olyai, assistant vice president for Mobility Programs Development at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).
Simpson questions whether transit agencies will be able to manage a 5, 10 or even 15 percent increase in ridership and asserts that, in the short term, agencies may be able to add service or redeploy their existing efforts. In order to make this a sustainable reality, agencies need to do more. ICM is one potential solution. Through the use of various transit ITS technologies and strategies (such as automatic vehicle location/computer-aided dispatching decision support systems, automatic passenger counters, TSP and BRT) and the increased communication and cooperation with corridor partners that ICM requires, transit agencies may be better equipped to handle fluctuating capacity demands while increasing reliability and accessibility.
The USDOT is committed to equipping transportation managers and operators across the country to implement ICM in their corridors. The Pioneer Sites have developed their own Concepts of Operations, and are currently developing requirements documents for their ICM concepts. The USDOT expects to post the Pioneer Sites’ Concepts of Operations and requirements documents, as well as lessons learned from these activities — including the institutional changes needed to successfully implement ICM — to the ICM Knowledgebase (www.its.dot.gov/icms/knowledgebase.htm) in the summer 2008 timeframe. Early results from the analysis and modeling efforts, including the test corridor results, are expected to be made available in this timeframe. USDOT will also release practical AMS tools that corridor managers and operators can use and apply in their corridors through this initiative, along with lessons learned in this area as well. Furthermore, the USDOT will host panel discussions, workshops and Webinars over the next year to transfer knowledge to interested transportation practitioners.
The ICM Knowledgebase is a searchable, browseable, Web-based reference tool designed to provide transportation professionals with the knowledge and tools they need to successfully implement ICM in their corridors. The ICM Knowledgebase contains leading-edge knowledge developed through the USDOT’s ICM Initiative, such as the Pioneer Site Concepts of Operation and requirements documents, as well as lessons learned directly from the Pioneer Sites in the planning and implementation of ICM.
The highly usable ICM Knowledgebase was designed with input from multimodal stakeholders to help users intuitively and conveniently access the information they need. Users may search the Knowledgebase by keyword or browse its contents by a number of views, including type of resource (guidance, lessons learned, presentation, sample documents/templates, etc.), associated ICM life-cycle step, publication date of document or conference/event. The Knowledgebase also provides users with at-a-glance document abstracts; usage guidance, including product applicability to targeted audiences; and other information, including file size and number of pages, to help users to determine which documents may be most useful to them. Documents are being added regularly to the Knowledgebase as the ICM Initiative moves along.