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Submitted by Harvey Scorcia on
Holly, I think is very very very interesting, congratulations. Here are some of my thoughts: 1. I would divide the applications of the 10-cent GPS into two. One for to the traditional disorganized bus system and other for the organized BRT system: For the BRT system: 2. Having all the information you are mentioning would be amazing. This because: (i) if publicly disclosed people will be able to measure the reliability and the quality of service of the system – In Chicago after transit real time information for cell phones was released people started to account for the performance of the services; (ii) the day to day information is also great for scheduling and planning services. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), I was an intern there, has all data automated. You can have data of the performance (of the previous day and year) on their intranet in a really simple way of everything a transit planner needs (e.g. passenger per route per day, passengers at stop, running times, average headways, etc.). If you need more complex information you can run a query of the database using SQL. 3. I think that implementing a dateros program with the specification you are mentioning would be a matter of how expensive that is versus to have a completely automated system (ala Chicago) in a server using data of the GPS, Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL), and Automatic Passenger Counts (APC). Maybe the dateros is cheaper. For example: Transmilenio, in Bogota, does not use GPS information very much –operation controllers use it to tell the drivers to speed up or down but they need a team on the corridors to enhance performance. For Traditional Bus Systems: 4. I would not go for a GPS technology but for a “cheap” tablet where the dateros put the info they usually gather plus maybe the bus plate numbers, in order to infer the bus speeds. 5. The data gathered through this methodology will not improve the quality of service of the traditional buses by itself. As pointed out in the “The War for the Fare” paper, the traditional compensation for drivers, a per-passenger scheme, vs. the fixed wage scheme brings (on the bad side) 67% more accidents per kilometer driven and (on the good side) a 10% shorter waiting times for passengers. So, what to do with the data? : 6. I would use the information for measuring the corridor/route performances and to have a clear diagnosis of the transportation systems. Usually local authorities do not have the information needed for taking good decisions (e.g., route permits) and they have to rely on few counts or the information provided by the private companies!. 7. As mentioned previously traditional bus drivers just care about ensuring reliability in order to maximize their revenue. If they have to speed to 50 mph in a low-passenger demand zone they will do it, or they will do it to avoid bunching with a competing bus (penny war). The release of this kind of information can be a double-edged sword since operators could see where they should speed more or where they should slow down (or even stop) creating more congestion for taxis and regular cars. What do you think? Best, Harvey Scorcia