National Academies Press: OpenBook

Mobile Data Terminals (2007)

Chapter: Chapter Five - Conclusions

« Previous: Chapter Four - Case Studies
Page 25
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Five - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Mobile Data Terminals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23176.
Page 25

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

25 The response from the transit industry to the mobile data terminal (MDT) survey was geographically widespread and diverse in agency size. The survey indicated a magnitude of MDT deployment (more than 10,000 units reported) in both fixed-route and paratransit that was larger than anticipated. In both demand-response and motor bus modes, the functional- ity deployed and the applications reported indicate an indus- try that is using MDT technology to monitor and enhance performance on the street, provide better information to cus- tomers, and prevent fraud and abuse by contractors and staff. The use of MDT-collected data for performance measure- ment and productivity is very sophisticated. • There was a range in MDT manufacturers that showed some long-term suppliers surviving in a volatile mar- ketplace, as well as new vendors entering a global mar- ketplace. There were products and services that fea- tured integration of modes and strong consumer orientation. New vendors were active in marketing and competing for transit and paratransit business at transit trade conferences. As anticipated by the synthesis topic panel, the MDTs deployed in the transit industry are found in the bus and demand-responsive modes; however, evidence indicates interest in nontraditional markets such as ferries and light rail, as well. • For those survey participants who took the time to address the issues of cost, deployment problems and solutions, technology support, and acceptance of MDTs in a transit context, the responses were heartening. The transit industry has become a significant buyer of tech- nology. It is practical and effective in dealing with the inevitable problems of changing culture in the work- force. The industry is helped by the favorable economic forces of lower cost and higher value of all technology products and the increasing dissemination of technol- ogy throughout society. • Responses to questions concerning communications type indicate a dominance of the traditional private radio network (conventional radio) among respondents. However, when cellular carriers are aggregated as a public data network category, their presence in the deployment of MDTs is significant. The increases in the transmission capacity of wireless broadband currently being developed as cellular carriers compete for the new smart phone customers may provide transit with a cheap and reliable infrastructure for MDT and customer information deployment. Nontraditional radio spec- trum, such as wireless local area network or WiFi (IEEE 802.11a/b/g), is also in evidence as cities strive to bridge the digital divide for their residents and savvy information technologists in the transit industry see the advantages of wireless downloads to MDTs in transit vehicles. • Higher than expected global positioning system (GPS) rates were reported. In transit agencies using public data networks, this may reflect the difference between the transmission rates of first generation cellular communi- cations and current 2.5 and third generation telecom- munications infrastructure being rolled out nationwide. The higher refresh rates are particularly important for those agencies using the web to communicate the loca- tions of their vehicles and for estimated time-of-arrival predictions. The availability of assisted GPS on GPS- integrated cell phones indicates very fast time-to-first- fix, GPS refresh rates of 1–2 s, and location calculation within buildings and urban canyons. If this technology becomes widespread and deployed in transit, new and different applications for automatic vehicle location data will emerge—such as incident and accident recon- struction, emergency evacuation management, and other safety and security applications. • Some respondents were looking to acquire real-time video as future technology. The market competitive- ness of wireless cellular companies with cable compa- nies over broadband capacity for video download may provide some future cost-effective opportunities for transit. For example, in South Korea the communica- tion infrastructure is in place that allows consumers to view television shows on their cell phones. If one can view television shows on a cell phone, there is enough bandwidth to transmit one frame per second video from an Internet camera on a bus to the operations center. The U.S. consumer will eventually decide if they want this capacity, but the technology is available. Transit should be alert to taking advantage of these emerging capabilities as a safety and security initiative. CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS

Next: Bibliography »
Mobile Data Terminals Get This Book
 Mobile Data Terminals
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

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.


  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!