Smarter paratransit solutions using location data
Kenneth Clay·Sep 08, 2021

Smarter paratransit solutions using location data

Kenneth Clay
Sr. Marketing Manager
Sep 08, 2021 · 5 min read
Smarter Paratransit Solutions Using Location Data | TomTom Newsroom

You book a ride with your city’s paratransit service to get to an important appointment. You get an update from its app telling you you’ll be picked up 15 minutes early to ensure you get there on time. This happens all the time, but have you ever thought about what goes into providing you with instant, real-time pick-up and drop off times?

Transit systems: The backbones of our cities

Transit systems are the backbones of our cities and are an essential community service. In addition to traditional transit services like subways and buses, many cities complement these services with paratransit options. Paratransit supports fixed route mass transit with tailored, flexible services designed especially for passengers with disabilities.

As the population ages, more and more people will rely on paratransit to get to appointments, to go shopping, and to attend social events. This makes paratransit one of the most essential services transit providers offer.

Accessible transit services in the U.S. are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act; transit agencies must ensure people with disabilities have ready access to transit. But to offer something as complex as a fully-fledged paratransit offering, agencies need some help from technology.

Mobility on Demand (MoD) technologies such as Cloud PASS from public transit software developer Trapeze Group ensure paratransit riders get to their destinations on time. For those that rely on paratransit services to attend important medical appointments for example, this accuracy is critical.

For transit providers, integrating this technology means that, from one single app, riders can plan, book, pay for, and track their trips, in real time. Trip information is constantly updated by the minute so paratransit riders have confidence they will get to where they need to be, exactly when they need to be there.

Paratransit service offerings vary considerably from agency to agency, and city to city, but in their simplest form, paratransit consists of a vehicle running along a defined route, stopping to pick up or drop off passengers on request.

However, by using technologies like Cloud PASS, transit agencies can offer services with no pre-set route or schedule. Instead, they can offer an on-demand service that is flexible, efficient, and more reliable than traditional services.

Passengers book their trips with their transit agency directly and the route each day is built around these requests. This MoD solution provides an on-demand, door-to-door service from any starting point to any destination within a given service area. In many areas, paratransit is complemented with rideshare, taxis, and small van services.

Accurate ETAs are essential for a positive rider experience

Naturally, transit agencies want to give their riders the best experience possible, providing choice, flexibility, and control over their journeys. That’s not easy with hundreds of passenger requests coming in each day.

What’s more, providing an accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA) is essential for both the driver and the passenger and doing this consistently when the paratransit route changes every day, and ride requests differ every day, is a logistical challenge. Accurate ETAs are a must— they are fundamental to maintaining passenger satisfaction and maximizing efficiency for the transport provider.

Artur Miranda, Strategic Alliances & Partnerships, Trapeze Group, says, “The most important part of our work with TomTom has been ensuring reliable, accurate ETAs, and maintaining high on time performance (OTP). This leads to increased rider satisfaction and allows agencies to improve the overall efficiency of their systems through the entire day of service.”

Those highly accurate ETAs come from planning effective routes ahead of time and responding to real-time disruptions like construction and road congestion. When paratransit drivers can see current and suggested routes based on real-time issues, like traffic jams, they can react accordingly and better meet their customers’ expectations.

Book a ride using Trapeze Cloud PASS

Cloud PASS from Trapeze offers paratransit riders more flexibility and control over booking and managing their trips. It reduces time spent on calls with the agency call center and automates manual planning processes, saving hours that would otherwise be spent scheduling services. Cloud PASS gives time back to transit agencies to develop and deliver better customer experiences, while at the same time delivering a more reliable paratransit system for riders.

Cloud PASS allows agencies to:

  • Deliver more accurate trip duration and arrival time information.

  • Reduce the number of ride request calls.

  • Streamline the booking and scheduling process.

  • Train new hires quicker with an intuitive user interface and experience.

In partnership with TomTom, Cloud PASS delivers accurate ETAs and real-time trip information using TomTom’s real-time traffic technology and its expansive location API.

Curious to learn more about Mobility on Demand?

Improved ETA results using TomTom location data

By integrating TomTom map and traffic data into Cloud PASS, Trapeze has seen a vast improvement in ETA predictions.

With the TomTom Routing API, Cloud PASS calculates highly accurate ETAs based on current and historical traffic data, factoring in road geometry, speed limits, road closures, lane details, and road curvature. Trapeze leverages the TomTom Traffic API to overlay traffic congestion information onto the navigation map, providing essential information to the driver so they can follow the most optimal and fastest route to the destination.

Happy riders. Successful transit system.

Trapeze works with public transit agencies and their communities to develop and deliver smarter, more effective public transit solutions. For over three decades, Trapeze has been constantly innovating with their public transport customers globally helping them move people from point A to Z and everywhere in between.

Over 135 transit agencies in North America, and more around the world, rely on Trapeze technology solutions for scheduling, planning, enterprise asset management, Mobility on Demand (paratransit), traveler experience, and data analytics.

Learn more about Trapeze Cloud PASS here

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