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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP SYNTHESIS 91 Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information A Synthesis of Transit Practice conSultant CAROL L. SCHWEIGER TranSystems Corporation Boston, Massachusetts S ubScriber c ategorieS Public Transportation • Data and Information Technology Research Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in Cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2011 www.TRB.org

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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP SYNTHESIS 91 The nation’s growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and Project J-7, Topic SA-25 energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Current ISSN 1073-4880 systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand ISBN 978-0-309-14346-2 service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to Library of Congress Control Number 2011930011 serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating prob- lems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and © 2011 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. to introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Coopera- tive Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by COPYRIGHT INFORMATION which the transit industry can develop innovative nearterm solutions to meet demands placed on it. Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who 213—Research for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material and based on a study sponsored by the Federal Transit Administra- used herein. tion (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Associa- Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to repro- tion (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, duce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit pur- problem-solving research. TCRP, modeled after the longstanding and poses. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the mate- successful National Cooperative Highway Research Program, under- rial will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, takes research and other technical activities in response to the needs or Transit Development Corporation endorsement of a particular product, of transit service providers. The scope of TCRP includes a variety of method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equip- this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropri- ment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and ate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced mate- administrative practices. rial. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Pro- posed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was autho- rized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act NOTICE of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlin- ing TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Tran- organizations: FTA, the National Academy of Sciences, acting through sit Cooperative Research Program conducted by the Transportation the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Develop- Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the ment Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research National Research Council. Such approval reflects the Governing organization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the Board’s judgment that the project concerned is appropriate with respect independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and to both the purposes and resources of the National Research Council. Project Selection (TOPS) Committee. The members of the technical advisory panel selected to monitor this Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically project and to review this report were chosen for recognized scholarly but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the respon- competence and with due consideration for the balance of disciplines sibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the research program by appropriate to the project. The opinions and conclusions expressed or identifying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the implied are those of the research agency that performed the research, TOPS Committee defines funding levels and expected products. and while they have been accepted as appropriate by the technical Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel, appointed panel, they are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for proposals), Board, the Transit Development Corporation, the National Research select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel through- Council, or the Federal Transit Administration of the U.S. Department out the life of the project. The process for developing research problem of Transportation. statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in Each report is reviewed and accepted for publication by the tech- managing cooperative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB nical panel according to procedures established and monitored by the activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Transportation Research Board Executive Committee and the Govern- Because research cannot have the desired impact if products fail to ing Board of the National Research Council. reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on dissemi- The Transportation Research Board of The National Academies, the nating TCRP results to the intended end users of the research: transit Transit Development Corporation, the National Research Council, and agencies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of the Federal Transit Administration (sponsor of the Transit Cooperative research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting Research Program) do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for work- manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered shops, training aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results essential to the clarity and completeness of the project reporting. are implemented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. The TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively Published reports of the address common operational problems. The TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs. TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from: Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet at: http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore Printed in the United States of America

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished schol- ars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the ser- vices of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Acad- emy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and prog- ress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Board’s varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org

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TCRP COMMITTEE FOR PROJECT J-7 COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS STAFF CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS, Director, Cooperative Research Programs CHAIR CRAWFORD F. JENCKS, Deputy Director, Cooperative DWIGHT A. FERRELL Research Programs Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA GWEN CHISHOLM SMITH, Senior Program Officer EILEEN P. DELANEY, Director of Publications MEMBERS DEBRA W. ALEXANDER SYNTHESIS STUDIES STAFF Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing, MI STEPHEN R. GODWIN, Director for Studies and DONNA DeMARTINO Special Programs San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA JON M. WILLIAMS, Program Director, IDEA and MARK W. FUHRMANN Synthesis Studies Metro Transit— Minneapolis/St, Paul, MN JO ALLEN GAUSE, Senior Program Officer ROBERT H. IRWIN GAIL R. STABA, Senior Program Officer Consultant, Sooke, AB, Canada DONNA L. VLASAK, Senior Program Officer JEANNE KRIEG DON TIPPMAN, Senior Editor Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, Antioch, CA CHERYL KEITH, Senior Program Assistant PAUL J. LARROUSSE DEMISHA WILLIAMS, Senior Program Assistant Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, DEBBIE IRVIN, Program Associate New Brunswick, NJ DAVID A. LEE TOPIC PANEL DEBRA W. ALEXANDER, Capital Area Transportation Connecticut Transit, Hartford, CT Authority, Lansing, MI FRANK T. MARTIN ANDREW BATA, MTA, New York City Transit Atkins, Tallahassee, FL FABIAN CEVALLOS, Florida International University, Miami BRADFORD J. MILLER RANDALL G. FARWELL, Jacobs Engineering, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), St. Petersburg, FL Jacksonville, FL HAYWARD M. SEYMORE, III DWIGHT A. FERRELL, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Kitsap Transit, Bremerton, WA Authority, Atlanta, GA FRANK TOBEY JEFF FRANE, TriMet, Portland, OR First Transit, Inc., Moscow, TN LYN HELLEGAARD, Missoula Ravalli Transportation Man- PAM WARD agement Association Ottumwa Transit Authority, Ottumwa, IA CHARLENE WILDER Federal Transit Administration (Liaison) FTA LIAISON LISA COLBERT Federal Transit Administration MICHAEL BALTES Federal Transit Administration APTA LIAISON KEVIN DOW American Public Transportation Association TRB LIAISON JENNIFER A. ROSALES, Transportation Research Board PETER SHAW Transportation Research Board

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FOREWORD Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which informa- tion already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and prac- tice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, f ull knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviat- ing the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Coopera- tive Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J-7, “Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Problems,” searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP report series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. PREFACE The purpose of this report was to document the state of the practice in the use and deploy- ment of real-time transit information on mobile devices using the following five dimensions: By Donna L. Vlasak (1) the underlying technology required to generate the information to be disseminated, (2) Senior Program Officer the mobile technology used for dissemination, (3) the characteristics of the information, (4) Transportation the resources required to successfully deploy information on mobile devices, and (5) the Research Board contribution of mobile messaging to an overall agency communications strategy, includ- ing “information equity.” One of the key results of the survey indicated that many of the respondents are using either third-party mobile content/applications providers or individu- als to provide real-time information on and develop applications for mobile devices. This result confirms that many transit agencies have limited internal resources to develop, man- age, and maintain real-time mobile applications. The report offers a literature review; results of a survey conducted about items in the five dimensions, as well as questions regarding lessons learned; and the results of telephone interviews conducted with key agency personnel. The results of four of these telephone interviews are presented as case studies with noteworthy agency approaches to provid- ing mobile information. Twenty-eight completed survey responses were received from 28 transit agencies around the world, a 100% response rate. The 15 U.S. transit agencies that provide real-time information on mobile devices responded, as well as 13 survey responses f rom international agencies. Carol L. Schweiger, TranSystems Corporation, Boston, Massachusetts, collected and synthesized the information and wrote the paper, under the guidance of a panel of experts in the subject area. The members of the Topic Panel are acknowledged on the preceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.

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CONTENTS 1 SUMMARY 7 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Project Background and Objectives, 7 Technical Approach to the Project, 7 Report Organization, 8 9 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW Underlying Technology, 9 Mobile Device Technology, 11 Characteristics of the Mobile Information, 13 Resources Required to Provide Mobile Services, 16 Contribution of Mobile Messaging to an Overall Agency Communications Strategy, 17 22 CHAPTER THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF UNDERLYING TECHNOLOGY, MOBILE TECHNOLOGY, AND MOBILE INFORMATION Underlying Technology and Real-Time Mobile Message Types, 22 Mobile Technology, 23 Characteristics of Real-Time Information Provided on Mobile Devices, 27 31 CHAPTER FOUR RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS 33 CHAPTER FIVE CONTRIBUTION OF MOBILE MESSAGING TO AGENCY COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY 38 CHAPTER SIX CASE STUDIES Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Portland, OR), 38 Bay Area Rapid Transit District (Oakland, CA), 40 LeeTran (Lee County/Fort Myers, FL), 44 Transport for London (London, United Kingdom), 45 48 CHAPTER SEVEN FINDINGS, LESSONS LEARNED, AND CONCLUSIONS Summary of Project Scope, 48 Project Findings, 48 Lessons Learned, 50 Conclusions, 51 Suggestions for Future Study, 53 54 REFERENCES 58 APPENDIX A BIBLIOGRAPHY 61 APPENDIX B SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE 73 APPENDIX C LIST OF AGENCIES RESPONDING TO THE SURVEY 76 APPENDIX D ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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