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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Personalized Demand-Responsive Transit Service

  • Author(s): Cayford, Randall;
  • Yim, Y. B. Youngbin
  • et al.

Providing easy access to the public transit service is the goal of the California transit agencies. Many travelers cannot take an express transit because they often cannot park and ride. Smart DRT (demand responsive transit) Feeder is a system that collects transit riders from neighborhoods and takes them to transit stations. This system will use APTS (Advanced Public Transit System) technologies to make the feeder service convenient and reliable. The concept is very simple. When demand is high, Smart Feeder will use the fixed-route fixedschedule service. When demand is low, it will use the on-demand service. For the on-demand service, customers will use an automated dial-a-ride system or the Internet for making a reservation or receiving a confirmation. Feeder vehicles will be equipped with Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) and on-board wireless computer devices. The first part of this paper describes the results of a user survey on the demand for and on the desired characteristics of a Smart Feeder system for the city of Millbrae. The second part of the paper describes the resulting design and implementation of the automated dial-a-ride system that will be used for the demand responsive transit service. The system uses an automated phone-in system for reservations, computerized dispatching over a wireless communication channel to the bus driver, and an automated callback system for customer notifications. User requests for pickup are collected and a computerized scheduling system acts as a broker between the multiple user requests and the transit agency to determine the optimal departure time and route that minimizes customer wait time and maximizes the number of passengers per trip. The system requires no dispatchers and operates in real time without requiring advance reservations.

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