Henry and Coweta Turn to Technology to Improve Demand Response Transit Service

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Transit agencies in Henry and Coweta Counties are leveraging technology to increase ridership and  improve operational efficiencies related to scheduling and dispatching. Both agencies are utilizing an automated scheduling and dispatching software produced by the Atlanta-based firm RouteMatch to reduce or eliminate paperwork, accommodate more trip requests and verifications, and improve transit routing.

“RouteMatch has helped us become light years ahead of where we were,” says Tavores Edwards, Transportation Manager at Coweta County Transportation and Engineering Department. Since installation, Coweta County dispatchers have moved from pen-and-paper scheduling to an automated system and have improved trip performance, increasing the number of trips they are able to accommodate to an average of 500 per month per vehicle for 2013, up from 448 per vehicle for 2012.

“We are able to accept and schedule many more trips with RouteMatch Software, than we did before,” Tavores says, who was able to schedule 600 trips a month on three vehicles in January 2013. The improvements include tablet installations on all vehicles, which  has created an easy and efficient communication tool between drivers and dispatch operators. Tablets provide drivers with turn-by-turn navigation, route and scheduling information and access automatic vehicle location data. Thanks in part to this investment, Coweta Transit has achieved a 14 percent increase in overall ridership over the last five months from the same period last year.

Henry County Transit also has had success with RouteMatch, using their notification system to deliver automated phone reservations, allowing for greater customer access and less demand on agency staff. When coupled with automatic vehicle location (AVL), notification calls may be provided based on real-time vehicle arrival estimates, giving customers a friendly reminder and reducing dwell time and unnecessary vehicle idling.

“The Notification Module has changed the way we interact and contact passengers,” says David Williamson, Henry County Transit’s Director of Transit. “It has been very beneficial to us, our riders and their ability to cancel trips. The great thing about RouteMatch is if you insert the data, there is almost no limit to the amount of information you can get back out of it in terms of ad hoc reporting, and that has been very useful.” Overall the system has helped Henry decrease rider no-shows by 20 percent despite steady increases in demand for their demand response transit service.

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