Maximizing Route Efficiency with Software

Posted on June 22, 2009 by Thi Dao, Assistant Editor

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Scalable for Expansion

For agencies that operate both demand-response service and fixed routes, RouteMatch TS can be seamlessly integrated into the CA software to coordinate both systems using the same architecture. RouteMatch TS is a fully-automated schedule, routing and dispatching system for paratransits that also includes management features such as reporting, billing and data analysis.

"All the data, fixed route and paratransit, is integrated into a single database so that RouteMatch TS has access and knowledge of the fixed route system," says Quinn. "You can leverage that data to make better decisions for the paratransit dispatcher and vice versa."

Fixed-route data can be used to help a reservationist determine trip eligibility on the paratransit side. If a trip is requested that falls outside of the operating time of a fixed route, the reservationist will immediately know that trip is not an ADA trip.

The TS system can be used for systems of any size, and are in use by agencies running from 100 to 7,000 trips per day. RouteMatch designed the scalable product to allow smaller agencies, or those with a smaller budget, to choose basic components and purchase add-ons as the agency grows. This way, agencies do not need to pay for the features they won't use.

"As business needs change, requirements change. Your systems grow, so first you may purchase RouteMatch TS, and then you may want to add automated vehicle location technology a year from now," says Quinn. "All you do is plug in the module, and you install equipment on the vehicle."

In addition, RouteMatch clients of both products get GIS data updated annually to ensure up-to-date road conditions. The customer support department sends the data to customers, who then load it on to their server.

RouteMatch TS was chosen by the Iredell County Transit System in Statesville, N.C., in order to replace a system that was unreliable and unable to handle the agency's 160,000 trips per year. The transit system went live after three months of personnel training, achieving a 28.6 percent increase in ridership. A drop in vehicle usage from 25 to 18 led to significant fuel cost savings.

Simplifying Implementation

Trapeze also offers a NOVUS version for both its FX and PASS products. The browser-based technology works as a traditional desktop application on a central server, with other users accessing the application through the Web. It does not require installation in the workspace, simplifying implementation and maintenance. NOVUS is the 3rd and 4th generation of FX and PASS, respectively, and performs the same basic functions.

According to Goddard, training for the paratransit system typically is provided for those who take calls and reservations, dispatchers, operational managers and those who work on schedule efficiency, all of which would work with different aspects of the technology.

RouteMatch provides training on-site, and includes data conversion services and implementation services for the training program. "We're on-site with the customer then they go live, when they switch from the old platform to the RouteMatch platform," says Quinn. "We're with them...making sure it goes smooth."

Length of training period can vary widely, depending on size of the transit agency or the number of users that need to be trained. The entire training process up to implementation and going live can range from one week for very small agencies to months for larger ones.

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