Intelligent Bus System (IBS), a satellite based communications technology,
is used to improve the tracking of buses, collection of data and communication
between Pace and its drivers and passengers. Completed in March 2005, the IBS
system allows Pace to greatly improve routing and scheduling because of the
valuable data generated on ridership and route efficiency. There are several
components that provide Pace with data to improve bus schedules, add or reduce
buses as dictated by ridership and track buses in the event of an emergency.
IBS can also be a vital statistical provider during present and future restructuring
initiatives. With the use of IBS, Pace can collect data in quantities that until
now were impossibly cost-prohibitive, which will lead to great improvements
in suburban public transportation.
Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) The CAD function provides
for data and voice communication that can be generated by the dispatchers, mobile
users (to replace voice communications) or it can be generated by the system,
for example, to provide vehicle status information.
Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) The AVL function
uses Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers on-board the buses to provide
real-time vehicle location to the dispatchers on map displays and to the on-board
functions such as the automated next stop audio and visual announcements. AVL
is also the enabler of the
Bus Tracker. Based on the data provided by the AVL function,
riders can access
Bus Tracker via the internet to obtain real-time data on bus
arrival times. The AVL function also interacts with other databases to monitor
and report each bus's Schedule and Route Adherence. The AVL function improves
communication between Pace staff and between Pace and its riders, which enables
all parties to make informed decisions.
Transit Signal Priority
(TSP) When buses are behind schedule special devices on the buses
send signals to detectors installed at traffic-signal controlled intersection,
which automatically give the bus priority by extending a green, shortening a
red or providing queue jumps. TSP is a great benefit because it ensures schedule
adherence and improves travel times along busy arterial routes.
Automatic Passenger Counters (APC) Between twenty and twenty-five
percent of the buses are equipped with sensors and processors that detect passengers
boarding and alighting the buses. Combined with AVL location data, Pace can
record the number of passengers boarding and alighting buses at each bus stop.
This feature provides Pace with data that improves planning.
Engine/Transmission/ Lift Monitoring Each vehicle's engine
and transmission performance indicators are wired to the on-board computer,
which sends alarms to the dispatcher when there is a problem. The wheelchair
lift activation sensors are also wired to the on-board computer for monitoring.
This, along with AVL, provides Pace with data on the number of times and locations
at which wheelchair lifts are used. This is beneficial for maintenance purposes
and to allow Pace to keep more accurate data on lift usage.
Connection Protection In the past, when passengers wanted to request
transfers between routes, the bus operator of the bus with the requesting passenger
contacted the bus operator of the connecting bus directly via a bus-to-bus radio
call. With AVL, the process is automated in order to eliminate the need for
a voice conversation. The bus operator with the requesting passenger contacts
the bus operator of the connecting bus by sending a request with the mobile
data terminal. This function improves communication between drivers and improves
connection reliability for riders.
Police Jurisdiction Pop-Ups
This function allows the dispatcher to click on
any point on the geographic map display and the screen displays the name and
telephone number of the responsible police department. This function is essential
to reduce emergency response times, especially considering Pace buses operate
within hundreds of police jurisdictions.
Interface to Passenger
Services Representatives IBS provides near-real-time information
concerning bus locations and delays to the RTA Trip Planning System, the Illinois
Transit Hub, and customer service representatives. This function should improve
customer satisfaction because customers receive real-time, accurate information.
Audio and Visual Announcements All Pace buses are equipped
with an audio enunciator and visual display that automatically announce stops,
points of interest and other important information. All buses are also equipped
with an exterior enunciator. This provides passengers at bus stops with information
about the bus's route and its destination. This amenity is particularly important
for people who are visually impaired.
Mobile Data Terminals Every bus has a mobile data
terminal that allows drivers to send and receive messages, trigger alarms and
monitor their schedule adherence. Supervisor vehicles are also equipped with
mobile data terminals (notebook computers) that allow the supervisors to view
a subset of the CAD/AVL displays, fill out reports, and receive emergency alarms.