September 10, 2012

RouteMatch equips Iowa paratransit service

Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s Linn County LIFTS upgraded its fleet of 22 vehicles with RouteMatch Software's tablet technology after deciding to replace its aging mobile data computers (MDCs) with an easier, more cost-effective and reliable wireless solution.

LIFTS turned to RouteMatch, their current intelligent transportation systems (ITS) provider, to implement their transition to Samsung Galaxy tablets. LIFTS performs approximately 80,000 to 90,000 trips a year, with a ridership that is 40% senior citizens and 60% disabled.

"Our existing devices were due for a replacement, and we sought to improve hardware reliability and our response to consumers through the use of newer, upgraded technology," explained Tom Hardecopf, director of LIFTS.

Before investing in the tablets, the agency had experienced occasional connectivity issues and was also concerned about the potential incurred costs to replace or repair MDCs.

Earlier this year, LIFTS initiated a pilot program, in which the agency slowly integrated use of the tablets with their older MDCs to evaluate overall functionality, versatility and driver adaptation.

Tablets were assigned to each of their 17 drivers whereas previously the agency had each of their 22 vehicles outfitted with a more expensive MDC. The agency is now fully transitioned over to the tablets and is pleased with the results.

"It's been better than we expected. Deployment went very smoothly," said Hardecopf. "Our IT department and RouteMatch coordinated very well and before we knew it, we were up and running and our drivers are confident that no communications are being lost."

Aside from the cost savings of tablets, LIFTS was able to seamlessly continue its scheduling, dispatching, and automated vehicle location (AVL) functions.

"The change to the tablets was so seamless that dispatchers didn't notice the difference. Information transmission and communications also seem to be faster," said Hardecopf.

Going forward, LIFTS will consider using the tablets for additional procedures such as pre-trip inspections, trip logs, incident reports, and employee work logs.

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