- * Save money by modifying schedules to suit the customer base. If an accurate counting system is in place, then vehicles can be placed on a route that will best serve the public. Fewer riders will need fewer vehicles. Those vehicles can be placed on a busier route.
- * Achieving greater accuracy than manual counting. Manual counters can be distracted and therefore, can miss passengers boarding or leaving the vehicle.
- * Evaluating changes in ridership patterns immediately. Holidays, weather emergencies and more can all affect ridership patterns. Being able to pinpoint where a change is occurring will help to provide excellent and timely service to your riders.
- * Extensive passenger information reports. Proper reporting can assist in allocating resources properly and thus save your organization money.
- * Eliminating service where it is not cost-effective. If there is service in an area where there is very little ridership, those vehicles can be moved to a much busier area. Providing service to busier areas will allow for more riders to ride.
- * Automatic reports for transit funds application.
- * NTD reporting data.
- * On-time performance data for training drivers.
ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONALITY TO CONSIDER
Median cost data suggests that a relatively short payback period for investments in passenger counting technologies such as an APC system.
Typical Uses of Passenger Counting:
- * Compile ridership by the route
- * Compile ridership by the trip
- * Track systemwide ridership totals
- * Compile boardings and alightings stop-by-stop
- * Monitor passenger loads at the maximum load points
- * Compile ridership by the day type and the time period
- * Monitor vehicle schedule adherence
- *• Analyze origin-destination patterns
The utilization and implementation of an APC system does require proper planning. Getting a solid "buy-in" from all of the affected departments drastically improves the success of the project and the generated results. Therefore it is recommended the following basic steps be considered:
- Identify the stakeholders. For example, planning and scheduling departments generally have primary responsibility for all of the aspects of ridership data collection, maintenance and IT will have to maintain the system, and management will want to see the results. These results can help in organizing planning.
- A change in passenger counting technology can require upgrades in computer and analytical skills.
- Attend trade shows and request information about the technology that is currently on the market. Do your research in advance. Know what technology most interests you and what questions to ask.
- Invite vendors for presentations before an RFP is released to the market. This will allow you to see what is available in the market and what can best assist you and your agency's needs.
- Think about your reporting requirements. Think about the information that will best help your transportation agency to plan future requirements and scheduling.
- Think about security requirements for the data transfer. Consider safety for transmissions and how often the information will need to be transmitted.
- Is each stop available in the transportation agency's data base? This includes GPS position.
- Start a pilot project to verify the accuracy of the APC system, the data that will be generated and the formatting that will be necessary to help assist your organization.
- Have the vendor do a test ride for each vehicle type to improve the accuracy of the system.
Andreas Rakebrandt is an APC project manager with Init Innovations in Transportation Inc.