LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Transit Authority Board of Directors unanimously voted to award a $2.3 million contract to Avail Technologies to implement an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). By next year, residents will be able to locate an AVTA bus en route using technology that provides real time information.
“Installing an IT System is a huge endeavor for the agency and one that will improve customer service by leaps and bounds,” stated Board Chair Norm Hickling. “The Board’s vision is to develop a world class transit system and this is one more step in the right direction.”
Pennsylvania based Avail Technologies will install the new system over the next 12 to 15 months.
When up and running, it will provide travel convenience to transit customers not seen before in the Antelope Valley. The IT System will enable residents with smartphones to predict when the next bus will arrive by accessing the quick response (QR) code posted at each bus stop. Customers will also be able to gather bus location information by texting the IT system or by visiting the AVTA website. Finally, for those who may be visually impaired, this new system will disseminate information over a cell phone simply by punching in the bus stop number.
“Not only will the system provide convenient information to customers but it will provide important data to AVTA transit planners.” stated AVTA Executive Director Julie Austin. “We intend to use the information to enhance our service so that it meets ridership levels as effectively as possible.”
The system will automatically count the number of passengers boarding and alighting each bus and will even be able to determine the number of wheelchair passengers utilizing each stop. Automatic announcements will also be triggered by the IT system to alert passengers of upcoming bus stops.
“We are especially interested in tracking the agency’s on-time performance,” remarked Hickling. “The board understands the importance of reliability and being on time in transit is a major component. The IT system will provide us with an accurate report card so that we can make improvements where necessary. ”
A special module for customer service representatives will also be installed giving them the ability to better monitor the transit system and provide real time information to customers seeking trip planning assistance.
AVTA provides local, commuter and dial-a-ride service to a population of more than 400,000 residents in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale as well as the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County. Its total service area covers 1,200 square miles and it is bounded by the Kern County line to the north, the San Bernardino County line to the east, the Angeles National Forest to the south, and Interstate 5 to the West.
(Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.)