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Resources for Practitioners

ITS Transit Fact Sheets

General Managers and other public transit administrators asked the FTA to provide direction as to which of the many transportation technologies to invest. Representatives from 8 transit agencies formed the Core Technology Review Team.

The Review Team examined the full set of transit technologies and identified lists of most needed technologies for each service type (this is the Core Suite of Technologies, 11 total). These are the most basic and useful technologies for public transportation agencies to deploy.

The list of technologies was developed through a cooperative effort of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and the ITS Public Transportation Forum. This committee of representatives was jointly sponsored by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) systems are electronic machines near the doors of a transit vehicle that count the number of passengers that enter and exit at every transit stop.
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An automatic vehicle location (AVL) system is a computer-based vehicle tracking system that uses location technology (usually global positioning system (GPS) satellites) and a wireless data communications system to transmit the real-time location of any bus, van, train, or boat from the vehicle to a transit operations center.
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Transit communications systems are technologies that pass information from one user to another in a useable form via wire, wireless, radio, the Internet or other links. Communications technologies facilitate interaction among drivers, dispatchers, emergency responders and other personnel involved in transit and transportation operations.
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Computer aided dispatch and scheduling (CADS) is software that incorporates transit routes, schedules, trip orders and vehicle assignments to allow dispatchers to know where their agency’s transit vehicles are located.
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Electronic Fare Payment (EFP), also known as Automatic Fare Collection (AFC), provides an automated means of collecting and processing fares for public transportation services such as bus, rail, ferry and other modes.
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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are systems to manage and create spatial data such as location of bus stops, routes, transit facilities and the regional street network. The management, analysis, communication and display of this information are vital for a transit agency to support ITS applications.
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With the use of new monitoring technologies paired with intelligent transportation systems (ITS) systems such as automatic vehicle location (AVL) or computer-aided dispatch (CAD), transit operators can build maintenance management systems (MMS) to monitor everything from fuel and other fluid levels to engine temperature.
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Security systems incorporate technologies that enhance the security, and possibly the safety, of transit customers, personnel, equipment, and facilities. Technologies include radio communications, silent alarms, covert microphones, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras (also known as video surveillance), automatic vehicle location (AVL) and other equipment.
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Transit Signal Priority (TSP) refers to the use of sensors and/or traffic signal timing to detect approaching transit vehicles and grant them priority passage at an intersection. TSP is a tool that can be used to help make transit service more reliable, increase ridership, reduce travel time, and cut transit agencies' operating costs.
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Traveler Information Systems (TIS) enable transit customers to receive travel information regarding various modes of transit or other types of transportation that the traveler may take. They also enable an agency to lessen the burden on staff that provides customer information
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Weather information systems (WIS) consist of the hardware, software and communications interfaces necessary to provide real-time information on weather conditions to transportation agencies and their customers. They provide data on road, tidal/offshore and other weather-related conditions.
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J.D. Schneeberger
Program Manager, Knowledge and Technology Transfer
ITS Joint Program Office
U.S. Department of Transportation
(202) 366-8034

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