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30060-1 Report Abstract

Evaluation of Automatic Vehicle Location Systems in Public Transit

Katherine F. Turnbull, Texas A&M University, October 1993, 57 pp.

The application of automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems is becoming more widespread in the transit industry in North America. Many public transportation agencies in Texas are currently operating and implementing AVL systems and more are in the planning stage. Automatic vehicle location systems, which allow transit operators to monitor the current status and location of transit vehicles, appear to offer a number of benefits. AVL systems provide a wealth of information that can be used to improve the energy efficiency of transit vehicles, enhance customer information, and improve route and schedule planning. Further, AVL systems may assist in gathering real-time traffic and travel information in congested corridors. In addition to reducing fuel consumption by improving the efficiency of transit systems, the other applications of the information generated by AVL systems may encourage more people to use transit rather than driving alone. Thus, AVL systems have the potential for significant energy savings through reduction in the use of single-occupant vehicles.

This report examines the use of AVL systems by transit agencies throughout the country and analyzes the various benefits that may be realized from the application of AVL systems. The implementation and current use of AVL systems by transit agencies in Texas is highlighted in the report, including the development of the AVL system by the VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority in San Antonio, which was one of the first transit properties in the country to utilize an AVL system. The report further examines the benefits provided by the use of AVL technologies, including the potential for energy savings and reductions in fuel consumption. The report also identifies possible demonstration projects and other innovative applications of AVL systems with different types of transit services in the state and additional uses of the information generated from existing AVL systems.

Keywords: Automatic Vehicle Location, AVL, Transit, IVHS, Advanced Technologies

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Reference Report #30060-1