National Academies Press: OpenBook

Mobile Data Terminals (2007)

Chapter: Chapter Four - Case Studies

« Previous: Chapter Three - Survey Findings
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Studies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
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At the outset, the MDT case studies were expected to come from the experiences of the synthesis topic panel, the con- sultant, or professional presentations. During the conduct of the survey, it soon became apparent that a significant num- ber of respondents were going to considerable effort to respond to the broad topical areas that were posed by the MDT synthesis topic panel. To the extent practicable, this synthesis attempts to address both avenues. All responses to the long form survey are summarized and presented in this synthesis. In addition, several transit properties are high- lighted as they relate to specific technology deployments or modal environments arising out of the research. Table 7 provides a listing of those transit agencies that responded to the long form survey. The topic areas that were addressed in the long form survey were: • Information Technology Supporting MDT Deployment • Installation, Maintenance, and Data Analysis Costs • MDT Acceptance by Staff • MDT Problems and Solutions • Security and Resilience of Communications. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTING MOBILE DATA TERMINAL DEPLOYMENT MDT long form survey respondents were asked to identify the operating system server software where the database resides that stores, manipulates, and retrieves data collected from the MDT. Several respondents identified more than one operating system. The responses can be found in Figure 9. Microsoft was the dominant operating system manufacturer and the responses indicated that the latest versions of this system were deployed in the field. However, older systems such as Windows NT and MS DOS were also reported, indi- cating that operating systems were in need of updating to protect the system from security breaches and improve sys- tem reliability. Other operating systems of note were Sun OS and UNIX. No respondent reported an open source operating system. Report A2-G1, “Operating Systems Supporting MDT Databases” provides the individual responses sorted by operating system and can be found in Appendix A2. The long form survey respondents were asked to identify the database technology supporting the deployment. Again, Microsoft dominated the survey as the manufacturer of its SQL Server software. One respondent had upgraded to the 16 2005 version of SQL Server, although most reported using SQL Server 2000, and a significant number reported using SQL Server 7, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. The responses are presented in Figure 10. A significant por- tion (5 of the 23 respondents) reported using Oracle, another popular database. The individual responses to the question on database support can be viewed in the context of the MDT deployment and sorted by software in Report A2-G2, “Data- base Software for MDT Support” in Appendix A2. INSTALLATION, MAINTENANCE, AND DATA ANALYSIS COSTS The long form survey inquired about the cost of the individ- ual MDT, the cost of installing and maintaining the MDT, and the labor expended in installation and maintenance. The respondents were diligent in their efforts to provide these data; however, there are clear limitations to this approach. First, the purchase and deployment of these MDTs were not contemporaneous; some were very recent, whereas others were among the first MDTs deployed in the nation. Further- more, differing procurement approaches included installa- tion and maintenance by the contractor or subcontractor. Also, the volume of the MDT purchase may have some affect on individual price (see Appendix A2, Report A2-C1, “Installed Mobile Data Terminal Totals,” for the total num- ber of MDTs installed by transit agencies to review the range of MDTs deployed by property). Most importantly, the MDT itself is simply a display unit in some manufacturer’s config- urations, whereas in others they are fully functional computer systems. Lastly, no one knows the current cost of a piece of equipment without conducting a procurement process to determine the market price at a particular time for a specific set of MDT capabilities. With these caveats, the results of the survey are presented here for planning purposes. The long form survey asked participants to estimate the unit cost of the MDT for their most recent deployment. Many respondents were particularly uncomfortable with this ques- tion in systems where the MDT was simply a display for a separate computer and were clear in pointing this out in their individual responses. Others wanted to be clear that their lat- est deployment was not recent. However, Figure 11 indicates that the majority of the estimates are within the range of $1,000 to $4,000—not that much different from a laptop computer (see Appendix A2, Report A2-I1, “Unit Cost of Mobile Data Terminals,” for agency responses). CHAPTER FOUR CASE STUDIES

MySQL 5% Microsoft SQL Server 2005 5% Informix 5% MS SQL Server 7 19% Oracle 24% Microsoft SQL Server 2000 42% 17 Transit Agency City State King County Department of Transportation—Metro Transit Division Seattle WA Spokane Transit Authority Spokane WA Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District Portland OR Kitsap Transit Bremerton WA Clark County Public Transportation Benefit Area Vancouver WA Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Woodbridge VA Delaware Transit Corporation Dover DE Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority Research Triangle Park NC Metro Regional Transit Authority Akron OH Central Ohio Transit Authority Columbus OH Metro Transit Minneapolis MN Pace—Suburban Bus Division Arlington Heights IL City of Tyler Tyler TX St. Joseph Transit St. Joseph MO Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Reno NV San Mateo County Transit District San Carlos CA San Joaquin Regional Transit District Stockton CA Fresno Area Express Fresno CA City of Phoenix Public Transit Department Phoenix AZ Antelope Valley Transit Authority Lancaster CA Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority Antioch CA TABLE 7 PARTICIPANTS IN CASE STUDY LONG FORM OF MDT SURVEY Unix 13% MS Windows XP 21% MS Windows NT 4% MS Windows Server 2000 25% MS Windows Server 2003 29% Other MS DOS 4% Sun OS 4% > $10,000 $8,001 - $10,000 $6,001 - $8,000 Co st R an ge < $1,000 unknown 0 1 2 3 Number of Responses 4 5 6 7 $4,001 - $6,000 $2,001 - $4,000 $1,000 - $2,000 FIGURE 9 Operating support for MDT database software. FIGURE 10 Database software supporting MDT deployment. FIGURE 11 Unit cost of MDT. > $1,500 unknown Included in unit cost 0 1 2 3 Number of Responses Co st R an ge 4 5 6 7 $1,001 - $1,500 $501 - $1,000 $251 - $500 <=$250 >12 hrs >2 - 4 0 - 2hrs unknown 0 1 2 3 Number of Responses La bo r H ou rs p er In st al la tio n 4 5 6 >10 - 12 >8 - 10 >6 - 8 >4 - 6 FIGURE 12 Unit cost of MDT installation. FIGURE 13 MDT installation labor-hours.

The survey asked “What was the unit cost of installation of the MDT for your most recent deployment?” In two cases, the installation cost was included in the unit cost. The distribution of the responses (Figure 12) revealed that the most frequent response was in the $501–$1,000 range. Again the configuration of the individual system as well as the complexity is relevant (e.g., number of functions per- formed by the MDT unit). The report for this question can be found in Appendix A2, Report A2-I2, “MDT Installation Costs.” In response to the survey question, “How many labor hours were expended to install an individual MDT for your most recent deployment?,” the respondents had a wide vari- ety of answers (see Figure 13). Most simply did not know because the installation was done by a subcontractor to the ITS vendor and was not known by the transit agency owing to the nature of the procurement. The installations were not trivial matters, however, as the estimates ranged widely from one-half a day per installation to two days per vehicle. It should also be noted that the participants in the long form survey were particularly complex ITS installations. Again, the best approach may not be a summary but a scan of the individual comments in Appendix A2, Report A2-I3, “Labor Hours per MDT Installation.” The long form survey asked the respondents, “What is the average annual unit cost to maintain/repair an individual MDT for your most recent deployment?” Many of the respondents did not know the answer to this question. For some, the deployment was too new to determine average cost of maintenance and repair. For others, it was covered by the original or extended warranties. Several made a good faith effort at estimation, and the average was clearly under $200 per unit per year. Figure 14 is the summary chart of ranges of responses. The full report by transit agencies can be found in Appendix A2, Report A2-I4, “MDT Maintenance/ Repair Cost.” Long form survey participants were asked to respond to the question “What are the average annual labor hours to maintain/repair an individual MDT for your deployment?” There were some difficulties responding to this question and participants used the free-form text to provide formulas and written responses to their concerns. The responses of those who were able to estimate the annual labor hour per unit for 18 maintenance and repair varied considerably. When com- pared with the number of hours expended for maintaining radios, cell phones, and laptop computers in an office setting, they may appear high. However, when attempting to operate electronic equipment in the difficult transit environment, the resulting numbers may appear quite low. The ranges of labor- hours are presented in Figure 15. The individual responses by transit property may be found in Appendix A2, Report A2-I5, “Labor Hours per MDT Maintenance and Repair.” The synthesis topic panel was interested in the investment that transit agencies deploying MDTs made in supporting information technology and communications. The survey asked for a yes or no response to the question, “Does the tran- sit agency provide the information technology and communi- cations infrastructure for the MDT deployment?” “If yes, what is the annual personnel cost dedicated to IT and communica- tions?” “If no, how is the IT and communications provided.” Where the respondent indicated “no,” the communications infrastructure was provided by a wireless communications car- rier and the IT support was provided by the ITS supplier or a city department. Where the IT or communications infrastruc- ture was provided by the transit agency, the answers varied widely. Some responded with a number (or fraction) of full- time equivalent (FTE) staff (and some did not provide the base annual salary). Others responded with annual salaries (presumably unburdened by benefits and overhead costs) as presented in Figure 16. The range was from a low of $20,000 per year to a high of $1,125,000. The individual responses can be found in Appendix A2, Report A2-I6, “IT and Communi- cations Support for MDTs.” There was also interest in how the transit agency accom- plished data analysis and reporting on the information being generated by the MDTs. The long form asked partic- ipants if there were “transit staff dedicated to the analysis $201 - $400 $0 - $200 unknown 0 1 2 3 Number of Responses R an ge 4 5 6 7 8 >$1,000 $801 - $1,000 $601 - $800 $401 - $600 >2 - 4 0 - 2hrs unknown 0 1 2 3 Number of Responses R an ge 4 5 6 7 8 9 >10 >8 - 10 >6 - 8 >4 - 6 $25,001 - $50,000 $0 - $20,000 0 1 2 3 Number of Responses R an ge o f S al ar ie s 4 5 > $200,000 $150,001 - $200,000 $100,001 - $150,000 $50,001 - $100,000 FIGURE 14 Annual cost of MDT maintenance and repair. FIGURE 15 Labor-hours for maintenance and repair per unit. FIGURE 16 Annual transit agency personnel costs for IT and communications.

19 and reporting of data collected by the MDTs?” If the answer was “yes,” the respondent was asked to estimate the annual costs and annual labor hours incurred by the transit agency for this activity. If the answer was “no,” the respondent was asked to explain how this analysis and reporting was accomplished. Four respondents answered that they did not have dedicated staff, but that analysis and reporting were accomplished through existing personnel or contractor staff without specific delineation of duties. The remaining ten respondents made an attempt to estimate a level of effort for analysis and reporting of MDT-generated data. The results are summarized by the frequency distribution table pre- senting the FTE of an annual (professional) salary for this activity (see Figure 17). The individual responses are avail- able in Appendix A2, Report A2-I7, “TA Support for MDT Data Analysis.” STAFFING ACCEPTANCE The respondents to the long form were asked to rate the acceptance of MDTs by certain categories of staff from the agency’s executives through the drivers and maintenance staff. In deploying technology into a transit culture, it is understandable that some employees would find the auto- matic collection of data from a transit vehicle more desirable than others. Although the 22 respondents are significant in that their responses are breaking new analytical ground from an industry perspective, it is important to note that it is the perspective of one person at a transit property. It is also important to note that this respondent has, at this point in the survey, proven proficient in responding to very technical questions on the MDT deployment at a property that has deployed MDTs for a year or more. In some cases, these respondents were very experienced in MDT technology deployment. The frequency distribution of ratings by staff categories is presented in Table 8. Clearly, the overall acceptance of transit agency staff to the deployment of MDTs is positive. The ratings in the high- est range (4 and 5) dominate all categories of employees. Respondents classified very few in the low range. To their credit, however, several respondents attempted to convey problem areas in the driver and maintenance category. The “no answer” category was noted when a respondent left one question blank while filling in all other responses in this series of questions. Although MDTs are often planned and installed as labor-saving devices for vehicle operators, they require training and raise operational questions that are not always appreciated. Similarly, MDTs are additional pieces of equipment on vehicles that require maintenance and repair by transit agency staff. Individual agency responses to these questions are presented in Appendix A2, Report A2-J1, “Staff Acceptance of MDT Rating by Type.” MOBILE DATA TERMINAL PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS Deploying innovative technology is not for the risk averse. Nearly every respondent reporting on their experiences deploying MDT technology reported encountering at least one problem, and most reported multiple problems. Eighty- two problems were identified by the 22 respondents to the long form survey. The frequencies of response to the types of problems in deploying MDTs are displayed in Figure 18. The manufacturers of the MDTs were criticized by survey respondents in problems reported as “MDT equipment design flaws” (9) and “MDT equipment manufacturing defects” (11), “MDT reliability in operating environment” (9), and “MDT installation problems” (14). One survey iden- tified “MDT manufacturer/vendor warranty compliance” as a problem. Assuming that these agencies had a good war- ranty agreement, these categories of problems have a path to resolution. The human side of the technology deployment was particularly evident in the responses to “MDT driver training problems” (11), “MDT installer/maintainer training problems” (11), and “MDT sabotage” (7). The survey report presenting the problems encountered by individual agencies is particularly instructive and can be found in Appendix A2, unknown 0 1 2 3 Number of Responses Fu ll- Ti m e Eq ui va le nt (F TE ) 4 2.00 1.00 0.50 0.25 Staff Category Executive staff Administrative/clerical staff Operations supervisory staff Drivers Maintenance staff No Answer 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 1 4 3 3 4 2 2 5 4 10 9 7 10 8 5 9 9 11 7 4 NOTES: Range—Where 1 is least acceptance and 5 is greatest acceptance. 0 2 4 6 Number of Responses MDT installation problems MDT communications infrastructure problems MDT driver training problems MDT equipment manufacturing defects MDT installer/maintainer training problems MDT reliability in operating environment MDT equipment design flaws MDT sabotage MDT manufacturer/vendor warranty compliance 108 12 14 16 14 11 11 11 9 9 9 7 1 FIGURE 17 Dedicated staff to MDT analysis. TABLE 8 RATING ACCEPTANCE OF MDTs BY EMPLOYEE CATEGORY TYPE FIGURE 18 Frequency distribution of operational and technical problems.

Report A2-K1, “Operational/Technical Problems Encoun- tered.” These problems can be related to the manufacturer and size of MDT deployment by consulting Report A2-C2, “Manufacturer and Model” also in Appendix A2. The respondents reporting problems encountered in their MDT deployment were prompted to identify solutions to those problems. Although this survey technique does not lend itself to easy synthesis, several observations are clear. These early transit innovators are straightforward in their assessment of problems and prompt in addressing these issues. Most were not shy about sending faulty equipment back to the manufacturer and insisting on a resolution to their problems. Some had many years of working with their equip- ment manufacturer and ITS vendor and had worked out a sat- isfactory relationship in resolving difficult problems and issues of deploying innovative technology in a difficult oper- ational environment. In some cases, the manufacturer and vendor went out of business or the communications infra- structure was changed by corporate merger or failure. Some problems were identified as unresolved at this time. Again, the individual technical responses were forthright and deserving of review within the context of the specific setting. These responses can be found in Appendix A2, Report A2-K2, “Operational/Technical Solutions.” SECURITY AND RESILIENCE OF COMMUNICATIONS At the onset of the 21st century, two disasters—one man- made and one natural—have impressed on civil servants the necessity for secure and resilient communications systems. As the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell on September 11, 2001, so did the communications towers for many of the private and public radio systems in lower Man- hattan. As Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi and Louisiana coastline in August 2005, the mega-storm destroyed public and private data and voice networks throughout the region. Although the military response to both disasters included completely functional and self- contained communications systems, civilian agencies, including transit agencies, were not in a similar position. Some lessons learned from the military approach to protect- ing communications were clearly in evidence from the responses to questions about security and resilience of com- munications after a disruption. In the long form survey, transit agencies were asked, “Do you have security measures in place for the communications systems supporting the MDT?” Figure 19 shows that nearly all respondents reported a secure base (radio) station, and most had addressed the issues of secure storage of mobile equipment when not in service (15) and secure auxiliary power generation for base stations and radio towers (14). Encryption and decryption of data radio transmission was reported by some respondents; however, the security of civilian transit data transmitted by MDTs may not be as 20 vulnerable to threats as military data transmissions in a tran- sit operational context. In assessing the issue of resilience, long form respon- dents were asked, “Do you have resilience built into the design of the communications system?” Each was asked to choose from several approaches designed to provide conti- nuity of data radio communications after a disruption. Nine respondents indicated that they could continue mobile- to-mobile transmission when the base station and/or the central tower is/are down (see Figure 20). Four transit agen- cies reported that they had self-healing autonomous mesh networks for radio communications (e.g., multi-hop trans- mission and Internet communications protocols). Two sys- tems reported that they had cooperative agreements with surrounding jurisdictions with duplicate communications systems in place that could temporarily replace central dispatch functionality. The issues of security and resilience have been initially posed as problems that must be addressed by individual transit organizations. They are inherently costly to design and very expensive to deploy as a single public entity. As homeland security evolves at the regional level throughout the United States, transit communications becomes inte- grated with first responder communications at the local and regional level. Furthermore, as regional cellular providers compete to provide ever-increasing capacity for broad- band access, they are vastly increasing the capacity and resilience of their multi-hop, self-healing mesh networks. As transit opts to use these public data networks for MDT data communications in the future, they have the built-in security and resilience of these regulated communications carriers. The individual responses to these questions on Number of Responses Secure base station Secure storage of MDT Secure auxiliary power Secure radio tower(s) Encryption and decryption 0 5 6 11 14 15 19 10 15 20 Mobile to mobile transmission Self-healing autonomous mesh networks Cooperative agreements Number of Responses 0 2 4 6 8 10 9 4 2 FIGURE 19 Security measures for MDT communications. FIGURE 20 Resilience of MDT communications.

21 communications security and resilience can be found in Appendix A2, Report A2-L1, “Security and Resilience of Communications.” CASE STUDY HIGHLIGHTS FROM LONG FORM SURVEY Nearly two dozen transit agencies responded to the long form survey and devoted considerable effort to sharing their expe- riences in deploying MDTs with the industry. At the conclu- sion of this synthesis, the survey results will be shared in a web-based database that can be queried by numerous vari- ables that will provide comparable transit properties with these experiences. As an example of the kinds of information that is available when combining information from this MDT survey with other data available from the NTD, three very different properties are highlighted as a part of this case study section: (1) the Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District of Oregon (TriMet), (2) the Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC), and (3) the city of Tyler, Texas. The highlight will use the general outline of the survey topics and present infor- mation provided by the survey respondent and supplemen- tary information from the 2004 NTD (the latest published data set available from FTA). Although the print media can show a few of these examples to present the diversity of the respondents, a database relating the similarities of service characteristics of transit agencies may be more advantageous for assisting those agencies considering technology deploy- ment. The information here is derived from the long form, or case study, database for each transit agency and is presented sequentially using the major topic headings of the survey for reference. Transit Agency Highlight No. 1: Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District of Oregon TriMet has a large metropolitan transit agency staff that can set the technology agenda for the MDT manufacturer and ITS supplier. It went outside the transit industry vendor cir- cles for the MDT, but chose one of the better known transit technology suppliers for integration. The functionality and applications are fully developed as the TriMet staff has deployed one of the largest MDT installations in the United States. It exhibits a clear recognition of the problems encountered and can articulate the resolution. The respon- dent has been able to state what it needs to continue their applications of technology in the future and how it is going to get there. More than any other respondent, TriMet under- stands that the data produced by these mobile collection instruments need to be analyzed and used in decision mak- ing by policy and operational staff. They have clearly iden- tified the level of effort that it takes to support such a transit technology-rich enterprise. • Transit agency information. TriMet is centered on the Portland, Oregon, urbanized area. It serves a population of 1,253,502 within a service area of 574 square miles. TriMet operates 235 paratransit vehicles in maximum service and provides 958,230 annual unlinked trips. The agency uses 614 buses in maximum service to provide 65,938,456 annual unlinked trips. It operates 105 light-rail vehicles in maximum service to provide 31,516,208 unlinked trips (National Transit Database 2004). • MDT deployment. TriMet reports that it has deployed 900 MDTs from a nontraditional transit MDT manu- facturer with a large non-transit business base. They use the traditional transit ITS supplier, Orbital TMS, with their ITS service TSL CAD/AVL. • MDT functionality. TriMet reports fixed-route MDT functionality as follows: download manifest to vehi- cle, driver sign-on/sign-off, driver start run/end run (revenue service), automatic boarding/alighting— electronic beam, counting the use of mobility aids, covert alarm, automatic communications to operations center. MDT-collected data are accompanied by GPS latitude/longitude and GPS date/time stamp. • Communications infrastructure. TriMet uses conven- tional radio or private radio network for MDT communi- cations. The communication of data files from scheduling software to individual vehicles is provided by the com- munications infrastructure. There is a refresh rate of GPS data from vehicles to the central dispatch in the 2–5 min range. Communication of canned text messages is avail- able from dispatch to vehicle and from vehicle to dis- patch. The communication of free-formed text messages is possible from dispatch to vehicle. • Information technology supporting MDT deployment. TriMet uses the Sun OS operating system and Oracle relational database to support the MDT deployment. • Applications of MDT-collected data. TriMet uses its MDT-collected data for driver time keeping. It reports that MDTs are used for fixed-route service on-time performance and paratransit on-time performance. The MDTs are used to prevent or detect time fraud by staff or contractors. TriMet reports that it uses the MDT data for real-time web AVL and for ETA at bus terminals, bus stops, on board the bus, and on the web. MDT-collected data are used for QA/QC for both fixed-route and paratransit modes. TriMet reports that the following performance measures are based on MDT data collection: passengers carried, passenger- miles, revenue-miles, passengers per vehicle-mile, passengers per revenue-mile, passengers per vehicle- hour, and passengers per revenue-hour. TriMet reports that it uses the hardware on the vehicle (e.g., GPS tem- poral and spatial stamp sent with data record) to inte- grate MDT-based applications. • Installation, maintenance, and data analysis costs. TriMet estimates the cost for MDTs at $4,200 per unit and an installation cost ranging from $500 to $1,000 per unit. Factory installations of MDTs were estimated at 4 labor-hours. TriMet estimated that its in-house MDT

retrofit took twice the factory labor-hours (8 h). MDT maintenance/repair cost was estimated at $111 per unit per year. Labor-hours per MDT maintenance and repair were estimated at 1.5 FTE for 900 units per year. The agency provides the information technology and the communications infrastructure for the MDT deploy- ment at an estimated annual personnel cost of $1,125,000 (15 FTEs at $75,000 per FTE). TriMet reports that transit staff dedicated to the analysis and reporting of data collected by the MDT is equal to two FTEs at $75,000 per FTE or $150,000 per annum. • Staff acceptance. TriMet reports the highest accep- tance rate by the operations and supervisory staff and the lowest acceptance rate by maintenance staff. The ratings for TriMet were as follows: executive staff—4, administrative/clerical staff—4, operations/supervisory staff—5, drivers—4, and maintenance staff—2. • Operational/technical problems encountered and solu- tions. TriMet reported that the following problems were encountered in deploying MDTs: equipment problems, installation problems, driver training problems, installer and maintainer training problems, and com- munications infrastructure problems. The solutions it reported are listed here: – MDT equipment manufacturing defects—DC to DC converters faulty; replaced under warranty. – MDT installation problems—checked each vehicle; covered by warranty. – MDT driver training problems—had to re-train owing to unanticipated changes in equipment. • Security and resilience of communications (after dis- ruption). TriMet reports the following security mea- sures in place: secure base station, secure radio tower(s), secure auxiliary power generation, and secure storage of mobile equipment, when not in service. Mobile-to-mobile transmission is possible when base station and/or central tower is/are down to provide a resiliency to the communications system design. • MDT capabilities desired in the future. TriMet reported the following additional MDT functions as desirable: – Decision support tools; – More effective way to prioritize information received by dispatchers; – Electronic manifest (paratransit); – Wireless data transfer; – Faster response between mobile and central (not nec- essarily faster data transfer); – Real-time traffic conditions for paratransit drivers; and – Digital maps, directions, address display, and route- finding/optimization for paratransit. • Future ITS applications at transit agency. TriMet reports additional technology applications for planned deployment as follows: – 802.11 for data transfer to/from vehicle, – Real-time or near real-time video (will require faster data transfer), and – Deployment of MDTs to field supervisors. 22 Transit Agency Highlight No. 2: Delaware Transit Corporation With a large service area on the edge of the megalopolis of the United States (Boston to Washington urbanized area), it is natural for the DTC to turn to technology for managing a statewide demand-response and fixed-route bus service. DTC has used a major transit technology industry company with functionalities for both paratransit and fixed-route ser- vices in its hardware and software. To its credit, DTC uses the MDT and associated GPS capability to deploy a full set of data collection capabilities on both modes to enhance operational control of both modes. Again, as with TriMet, DTC has focused on the potential of the MDT to provide timely and accurate performance measurement data at the vehicle and passenger level for full accountability and system productivity. Delaware provides the only statewide deployment of MDTs in the national survey. With such a significant accomplishment in large-scale deployment, it is noteworthy that DTC is reluctant to predict future technology initiatives. • Transit agency information. DTC is a unit of state gov- ernment serving a population of 817,491 within 1,954 square miles in the state of Delaware. It operates 177 demand-responsive vehicles in maximum service and provides 648,696 unlinked trips in paratransit service. It operates 166 buses in its maximum-peak fixed-route bus service and provides 7,792,571 annual unlinked trips (2004 National Transit Database). • MDT deployment. DTC reports that it has deployed 415 SmartMDTs using SmartTrack software from Orbital TMS. • MDT functionality. DTC reports using MDTs in both fixed-route bus and paratransit services. – Fixed route. In fixed-route bus service the MDT is used to download the manifest to vehicle, for driver sign-on and sign-off, and to indicate start run/end run for revenue bus service. An electric beam is used for counting boarding and alighting through the Smart- MDT. A full set of MDT emergency features include covert alarm, automatic communications to opera- tions, local recording of video feed, and buffered video frames before the alarm is activated. – Demand response. DTC uses the MDT to download the manifest to the paratransit vehicle and to auto- matically update schedule changes. The paratransit MDT will accommodate driver sign-on and sign-off and passenger pick up and drop off. • Communications infrastructure. DTC reports commu- nications infrastructure using three parts of the radio spectrum: conventional radio (e.g., 450 MHz), and two bands of unrestricted wireless local area network (WLAN or WiFi) at 2.4 GHz (IEEE standard 802.11b/g) and 5.0 GHz (IEEE standards 802.11a). Delaware reports communication of data files from scheduling software to individual vehicles. It uses a

23 GPS refresh rate of 2–5 min from transit and para- transit vehicles. DTC can communicate canned text messages for the dispatch to the vehicle, from vehicle to dispatch, and from vehicle to vehicle in the DTC fleet. Free form text messages are possible from dis- patch to vehicle. • Information technology supporting MDT deployment. DTC uses the UNIX operating system and Oracle rela- tional database to support the MDT deployment. • Applications of MDT-collected data. Delaware uses the MDT to collect data to determine fixed-route and para- transit service on-time performance. DTC reports that it uses web mapping of AVL data and calculated ETA at bus terminals and bus stops. MDT-collected data are used to calculate passengers carried, passenger-miles, revenue-miles, passengers per vehicle-mile, passengers per revenue-mile, passengers per vehicle-hour, and pas- sengers per revenue-mile. • Installation, maintenance, and data analysis costs. There was no response to his section. • Staff acceptance. DTC had a variety of responses to the survey question on staff acceptance. The ratings were as follows: executive staff—4, administrative/clerical staff—5, operations/supervisory staff—2, drivers—1, maintenance—2. • Operational/technical problems encountered and solu- tions. DTC reported a number of problems in its MDT deployment including equipment problems, reliability in operating environment, driver training problems, installer/maintainer training problems, and communi- cations infrastructure problems. It did not respond to the survey question on solutions. • Security and resilience of communications (after disrup- tion). DTC reported secure auxiliary power generation for (base station and radio towers) and secure storage of mobile equipment, when not in service. • MDT uses desired beyond the capabilities of the exist- ing equipment. DTC respondent did not answer this section. • Future applications and technologies. There was no response to this section by DTC. Transit Agency Highlight No. 3: City Of Tyler, Texas Tyler, Texas, proves that you do not have to be a major metropolitan agency or a state agency to get the benefits of technology deployed in a transit system. Tyler chose one of the most experienced of the MDT manufacturers and one of the nation’s largest wireless carriers to deploy MDTs in its small fixed-route and paratransit fleets. It uses both the taxi-type inexpensive liquid crystal display MDT and the newer high-resolution graphics-capable MDT. Despite its small agency size, it has the most up-to-date database soft- ware of any of the respondents to the MDT survey. The responses show a clear capacity to exploit the MDT data for all its management and operational information without in-house information technology staff. The significance of the city of Tyler response is that, within the context of a small multi-modal municipal transit service, it gets the same results from the technology as the two very large systems. In particular, it shares the approach of Portland’s TriMet and DTC in their obsession with using technology to provide the transit consumer with information and services to improve their transit experience. • Transit agency information. Tyler Municipal Transit (TMT) is the owner and operator of transit services in the city of Tyler, Texas. TMT has a service area popu- lation of 101,494 and a service area of 53 square miles. TMT operates four demand-responsive vehicles and four buses for fixed-route bus service (2004 National Transit Database). • MDT deployment. In its response to the 2006 MDT sur- vey, Tyler indicated that it uses two different models of MDT. It has seven of the veteran lower-cost MDC with an 8 line by 40 column text display lower-cost unit, and five of the newer full-featured Rangers, with color video screens, a total of 12 deployed units. • MDT functionality. TMT uses MDTs in both fixed- route and paratransit service. – Fixed route. TMT used the MDT in fixed-route service to download the manifest to the bus, driver sign-on and sign-off, and start run/end run for rev- enue service. It also uses the MDT to manually enter passenger boarding and the emergency button for a panic alarm. All data entries from the MDT were accompanied by a GPS latitude/longitude and GPS date/time stamp as well as a digital odometer reading. – Demand response. Tyler uses the MDT to download the paratransit manifest to the vehicle and it auto- matically updates schedule changes to and from the MDT. It provides for driver sign-on and sign-off, and records passenger pick up and passenger drop off and the use of mobility aids through the MDT. • Communications infrastructure. The city of Tyler uses a cellular carrier for communicating with the MDTs. It communicates data files from the scheduling software to each vehicle using this public data network. Tyler reports that it refreshes the GPS data for AVL of the vehicles at a range of two to five minutes. It can com- municate canned text messages in both directions from the dispatch to the vehicle and from the vehicle to the dispatch. It can only communicate free-formed text messages from dispatch to the vehicle. • Information technology supporting MDT deployment. TMT reports that it uses the MS Windows Server 2000 operating systems and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 as the database supporting the MDT deployment. • Applications of MDT-collected data. The city of Tyler uses the MDT-collected data for paratransit on- time performance and paratransit QA/QC. It reported that the use of MDTs to calculate the following

performance measures: passengers carried, revenue received, passenger-miles, revenue-miles, passengers per vehicle-mile, passengers per revenue-mile, passen- gers per vehicle-hour, and passengers per revenue- mile. TMT integrates data files through its relational database on a central server [e.g., data integrated through linking key fields Vehicle IDentification (VID), latitude and longitude, and GPS date and time]. • Installation, maintenance, and data analysis costs. Tyler reported an MDT unit cost of $3,500, with an installa- tion cost of $125. It reported an MDT maintenance and repair cost of $125 per unit, with 2.5 h of labor devoted to this task each year. The city of Tyler’s computer department supports the information technology requirements of the MDT deployment. The communi- cations infrastructure is provided and supported by the cellular carrier. TMT reported 0.5 FTE transit staff ded- icated to the analysis and reporting of data collected by the MDT at a rate of $8.85 per hour. • Staff acceptance. TMT respondents rated the accep- tance of the MDT deployment by staff as uniformly high, with executive and operations/supervisory staff rating the highest. The ratings were as follows: executive staff—5, administrative/clerical staff—4, operations/supervisory staff—5, drivers—4, and main- tenance staff—4. • Operational/technical problems encountered and solu- tion. TMT reported that it encountered installation, driver training, and communications infrastructure problems in the deployment of MDTs. The solutions were reported as follows: Installation problems related to antenna attachment; instal- lation company just added addition sealant. Training prob- lems have been related [to] a few drivers that had problems with technology, some related to seeing the LCD [liquid crystal display] screen and some in just remembering to 24 push the arrive or depart button, so busy talking to clients they just forget. Communications has been a real challenge, the [communications] network has been good, but commu- nication between the two servers requires attention on a weekly basis; resets of the communication software occur at least once a week (on average). • Security and resilience of communications (after dis- ruption). TMT reported attention to security issues, including a secure base station, encryption, and decryp- tion of data radio transmission, and secure storage of mobile equipment when not in service. • MDT capabilities desired in the future. TMT reported one additional function beyond its current MDT capa- bilities—a web portal for clients to see real-time bus locations and trip data. • Future ITS applications at transit agency. In identifying additional technology planned for deployment, the city of Tyler provided the following list: – Cameras with [snapshot] capability, sending real- time photographs by means of MDT to office, plus on board recording; – Passenger counters; – On-board proximity card readers for fare payment through MDC (or magnetic strip readers); – Bus stop emergency phones, probably secure cell phone-type system; – Next bus utilizing real-time GPS data from vehicle; and – Web portal for clients to view trip schedules on demand response, request trips, and view real-time location of fixed-route buses. Considering the 12 MDTs that Tyler has deployed in a small fixed-route and paratransit system, this ambitious future applications list covers the latest technology in safety and security, passenger counting, fare payment, and customer information.

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 Mobile Data Terminals
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TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 70: Mobile Data Terminals explores the state-of-the-practice of mobile data terminals in transit and examines the capability of mobile data computers offered by technology vendors to the industry. The report also reviews wireless communications infrastructure that supports mobile data terminal (MDT) deployment in transit.

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