The National Academies

Transit IDEA J-04/IDEA 08 [Completed (IDEA)]

Real-Time Transit Date Broadcast
[ TCRP J-04 (Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis--The Transit IDEA Program) ]

  Project Data
Staff Responsibility: Harvey Berlin

This IDEA project developed transit broadcast software for a personal portable receiver that provides real time-to-arrival information to transit passengers at any selected bus stop. The innovative software system transmits bus location to the personal portable receivers by oneway broadcast. The system operates in conjunction with an automatic vehicle location and control (AVL/C) system to locate each operating transit vehicle. Transit location data are then broadcast in a format compatible with the software installed in the portable receivers. These remote receivers convert the locational data into real time-to-arrival information for passengers consonant with input station stop location numbers the users put into their receiver/processors. The actual broadcast method can be any one-way transmission system, such as an FM subcarrier, a pager network, or the Internet.
This product was tested on the bus system of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, as a sample city of 62 routes, 500 buses, 650,000 in population, 128 patterns, and 4,600 stops. The model developed required a file size within the original estimate of less than 30 Kbytes. As a follow-up, real-time data was collected from Hull Transit in Ottawa, Canada, and the model accurately predicted arrival within less than a 15-sec variance. Application has been made to the Canadian Federal Transportation Development Center for funding of a commercial product that would allow persons with disabilities to determine which buses are wheelchair accessible. Funding is also being sought from interested transit authorities. The funding would be used to (a) enhance the design of a current AVL/C software package being designed for a signpost AVL system in Halifax, (b) modify the standard paging protocol to be compatible with the proposed personal portable receivers, and (c) implement the design to a standard display pager system. Having this transit information system as a pager feature could provide an incentive to the established pager industry.

The final report for this IDEA project can be found at:

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