Survey of Transit Providers Serving Small Urban and Rural Areas Regarding Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Introduction

  The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent, nonpartisan agency that works in support of Congress to help improve performance and ensure accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people, is collecting information on how transit providers are using electronics, communications, or information processing technologies — collectively known as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) — in their operations.

As part of this request, we are surveying a random sample of transit providers that serve small urban and rural areas and asking them to complete a questionnaire via the Internet. Specifically, we are requesting transit providers to provide information about their experiences using these technologies, including general information on technologies used, the benefits and challenges encountered in deploying technologies, and the funding and resources used for their deployment. We are also interested in understanding the reasons why transit providers may not be deploying technologies.

We are interested in obtaining information on each of the following technologies (you may click on the technologies to read a definition for each):

Communication Technologies
Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD)
Automatic Vehicle Location
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Security Cameras and/or Security Systems
Maintenance Management Systems
Traveler Information Systems
Automatic Passenger Counters
Electronic Fare Payment
Transit Signal Priority


We ask that you please complete this survey by (the date for requested completion appeared here).

GAO will not attribute survey responses to individual respondents or otherwise disclose them to the public, and will generally present only aggregate survey results in our report to Congress. While GAO is not authorized to withhold information from Congress, we will not otherwise disclose information collected through this survey unless required by law.

If you have any questions, please contact (the name, email, and telephone number of two GAO staff appeared here). To learn more about completing the survey, and printing your responses, click here for help.

Thank you very much for your assistance.
(View responses)
 

Communication Technologies

1.  Do transit personnel at your organization use any of the following technologies or systems to assist in providing transit services?
(View responses)
   
Yes
No
Not applicable
a.  Two-way radios
(View responses)
b.  Mobile data terminals (MDTs)
(View responses)
c.  Wireless local area networks (WLAN)
(View responses)
d.  Cellular telephone communications
(View responses)
e.  Land line telephone networks
(View responses)
f.  Internet
(View responses)
g.  Satellite phones
(View responses)
h.  Other communication technologies (Please specify below.)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
2.  Do transit personnel at your organization use smart phones for any of the following functions?
(View responses)
   
Yes
No
Not applicable
a.  Communications, for providing transit services
(View responses)
b.  Vehicle location
(View responses)
c.  Scheduling
(View responses)
d.  Operations management
(View responses)
e.  Other functions (Please specify below.)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 

Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD)

 
Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) technology provides a number of functions, but the key component is automating the scheduling and dispatch function of a transit agency. CAD typically consists of software that incorporates transit routes, schedules, trip orders, and vehicle assignments. Some software packages can assign trips to vehicles and generate routes in real time. CAD is often used with Automatic Vehicle Location.
 
(View responses)
 
3.  Is your organization currently using Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD)?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 4)
(View responses)
 
  a. For which of the following services does your organization use CAD?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  b. Overall, how useful has CAD been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using CAD?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy this technology in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Automatic Vehicle Location

 
Automatic Vehicle Location is a computer-based vehicle tracking system that uses location technology (typically GPS satellites) and a wireless data communications system to transmit the real-time location from the vehicle to a transit operations center. Automatic Vehicle Location is often used with Computer-Aided Dispatch.
 
(View responses)
 
4.  Is your organization currently using Automatic Vehicle Location?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 5)
(View responses)
 
  a. For which of the following services does your organization use Automatic Vehicle Location?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  b. Overall, how useful has Automatic Vehicle Location been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using Automatic Vehicle Location?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy Automatic Vehicle Location in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

 
GIS is a computer mapping application that displays and analyzes the spatial relationship of different data such as vehicle routes, trip pick-up and drop-off points, transit stops, streets, landmarks, and terrain characteristics. GIS is often used to graphically display Automatic Vehicle Location data.
 
(View responses)
 
5.  Is your organization currently using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 6)
(View responses)
 
  a. For which of the following services does your organization use GIS?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  b. Overall, how useful has GIS been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using GIS?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy GIS in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Security Cameras and/or Security Systems

 
Cameras and systems used to enhance the security, and possibly the safety, of transit customers, personnel, and equipment, using technologies such as radio communications, audio surveillance, silent alarms, covert microphones, closed circuit television cameras, and other equipment.
 
(View responses)
 
6.  Is your organization currently using Security Cameras and/or Security Systems?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 7)
(View responses)
 
  a. Which of the following types of Security Cameras and/or Security Systems have you deployed?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  b. For which of the following services does your organization use Security Cameras and/or Security Systems?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  c. Overall, how useful have Security Cameras and/or Security Systems been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using Security Cameras and/or Security Systems?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy Security Cameras and/or Security Systems in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Maintenance Management Systems

 
Maintenance Management Systems monitor everything from fuel and other fluid levels to engine temperature using information from other ITS systems, such as Automatic Vehicle Location and CAD. Systems may include engine and drivetrain systems monitoring.
 
(View responses)
 
7.  Is your organization currently using Maintenance Management Systems?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 8)
(View responses)
 
  a. For which of the following services does your organization use Maintenance Management Systems?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  Overall, how useful has Maintenance Management Systems been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using Maintenance Management Systems?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy Maintenance Management Systems in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Traveler Information Systems

 
A variety of tools that enable transit customers to receive travel information regarding various modes of transit or other types of transportation that the traveler may take. Systems may include any of the following:

- Onboard internet access,
- Text messaging/email,
- Variable message signs,
- Automated phone service (such as interactive voice response),
- Audible annunciators,
- In-vehicle displays,
- Static service information (such as travel information available on website),
- Real-time transit vehicle location and/or arrival time,
- Trip planners, or
- Third-party smartphone applications.
 
(View responses)
 
8.  Is your organization currently using Traveler Information Systems?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 9)
(View responses)
 
  a. Does your organization offer any of the following Traveler Information Systems?
(View responses)
   
Yes
No
Don't know
  Onboard internet access
(View responses)
  Text messaging/email
(View responses)
  Variable message signs
(View responses)
  Automated phone service (such as interactive voice response)
(View responses)
  Audible annunciators
(View responses)
  In-vehicle displays
(View responses)
  Static service information (such as travel information available on website)
(View responses)
  Real-time transit vehicle location and/or arrival time
(View responses)
  Trip planners
(View responses)
  Third-party smartphone applications
(View responses)
  Other (Please specify below.)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. For which of the following services does your organization use Traveler Information Systems?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  c. Overall, how useful have Traveler Information Systems been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using Traveler Information Systems?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy this technology in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Automatic Passenger Counters

 
Automatic Passenger Counters are electronic devices installed on transit vehicles that are used to count the number of passengers boarding and alighting.
 
(View responses)
 
9.  Is your organization currently using Automatic Passenger Counters?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 10)
(View responses)
 
  a. For which of the following services does your organization use this technology?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  b. Overall, how useful have Automatic Passenger Counters been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using Automatic Passenger Counters?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy Automatic Passenger Counters in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Electronic Fare Payment

 
Electronic Fare Payment provides an automated means of collecting and processing fares for public transportation services such as bus, rail, ferry and other modes. Systems may include magnetic stripe cards, smart cards, and automated fareboxes and faregates.
 
(View responses)
 
10.  Is your organization currently using Electronic Fare Payment?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 11)
(View responses)
 
  a. For which of the following services does your organization use Electronic Fare Payment?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  Overall, how useful has Electronic Fare Payment been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using Electronic Fare Payment?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy Electronic Fare Payment in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Transit Signal Priority

 
Transit Signal Priority includes the use of sensors and/or traffic signal timing to detect approaching transit vehicles and grant them priority passage at an intersection.
 
(View responses)
 
11.  Is your organization currently using Transit Signal Priority?
1.
2.
3. (click here to skip to question 12)
(View responses)
 
  a. For which of the following services does your organization use Transit Signal Priority?

(Please check all that apply.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please specify:
(View responses)
 
  Overall, how useful has Transit Signal Priority been for your organization?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
(View responses)
 
  a. Why is your organization not using Transit Signal Priority?

(Please select from the following list of reasons below.)
(View responses)
   
Reason
Not a Reason
Not applicable
  No perceived need
(View responses)
  Cost of technology is too great
(View responses)
  Lack of funding for operational costs
(View responses)
  Lack of support from leadership and/or decision-makers
(View responses)
  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
  Difficult to integrate technology with current systems
(View responses)
  Costs of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Benefits of technology unclear
(View responses)
  Vendor issues
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
  b. Does your organization currently plan to deploy Transit Signal Priority in the next five years?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
 

Costs

12.  Did your organization experience any unexpected costs when deploying, operating, or maintaining any of the technologies listed in this survey?
1.
2. (click here to skip to question 14)
3.
(View responses)
 
13.  If yes, what types of unexpected costs did your organization incur?
(View responses)
 

Benefits

14.  In your opinion, to what extent has your organization realized any of the following benefits from deploying any of the ITS technologies listed in this survey?
(View responses)
   
Great benefit
Slight benefit
No benefit
Too soon to tell
Not applicable
a.  Reduced travel times
(View responses)
b.  Reduced wait times
(View responses)
c.  Cost savings
(View responses)
d.  Enhanced safety
(View responses)
e.  Increased ridership
(View responses)
f.  Improvement in on-time performance and schedule adherence
(View responses)
g.  More efficient scheduling and routing
(View responses)
h.  More efficient staffing
(View responses)
i.  Improvements in record-keeping, reporting, or data analysis
(View responses)
j.  Increased operator satisfaction
(View responses)
k.  Increased customer satisfaction
(View responses)
l.  Other benefits (Please specify below.)
(View responses)
 
m.  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 
15.  Has your organization been able to quantitatively measure any benefits received from any of the technologies listed in this survey?
1.
2. (click here to skip to question 17)
3.
(View responses)
 
16.  If yes, please describe the steps your organization took to measure these benefits.
(View responses)
 

Challenges

17.  How much of a challenge, if at all, were each of the following issues in your organization's deployment of any of the technologies listed in this survey?
(View responses)
   
A very great challenge
A great challenge
A moderate challenge
Somewhat of a challenge
Little or no challenge
Not applicable
a.  Limited funding opportunities to pay for technology deployment
(View responses)
b.  Operational costs
(View responses)
c.  Maintenance costs
(View responses)
d.  Competition for funding with other transportation projects outside your organization
(View responses)
e.  Obtaining support for technologies from leadership and decision makers
(View responses)
f.  Lack of technical expertise in workforce
(View responses)
g.  Workforce apprehension to introduction of technology
(View responses)
h.  Costs and/or benefits of technology are unclear
(View responses)
i.  Integrating new technologies with current systems
(View responses)
j.  Limited vendor support
(View responses)
k.  Vendor technology solutions designed for larger-scale transit operations
(View responses)
l.  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 

Funding

18.  Has your organization used any of the following funding sources for the deployment, operation, and/or maintenance of any of the technologies listed in this survey? (Please check all that apply.)


Please note: Federal funding sources may include MAP-21 formula programs (e.g., 5309, 5310, 5311, 5312, 5314, 5316, 5317, 5320, 5337, 5339), MAP-21 Discretionary Programs (e.g., Mobility Services for All Americans, Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, and Tribal Transit Program), and funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
(View responses)
   
Deployment
Operation
Maintenance
  Federal funding
(View responses)
  State funding
(View responses)
  Local funding
(View responses)
  Private funding
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 

Technical Support

19.  Has your organization received technical support for the planning, deployment, operation, and/or maintenance of any of the technologies listed in this survey from any of the following entities? (Please check all that apply.)
(View responses)
   
Planning
Deployment
Operation
Maintenance
  Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
(View responses)
  National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP)
(View responses)
  DOT ITS Joint Program Office (JPO)
(View responses)
  State DOT
(View responses)
  Metropolitan planning organization (MPO)
(View responses)
  ITS transit consultants
(View responses)
  ITS transit vendors (such as RouteMatch, Trapeze, etc.)
(View responses)
  Industry groups (such as CTAA, APTA, ITS America)
(View responses)
  Other transit agencies
(View responses)
  University centers (such as NTI-Rutgers, CUTR-USF)
(View responses)
  Other (please specify)
(View responses)
 
  If you checked "other" (above), please provide a brief description.
(View responses)
 

ITS Joint Program Office

20.  Has your organization used any of the training, technical assistance, or knowledge resources programs offered by the federal ITS Joint Program Office (ITS JPO)?

The ITS JPO's Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Program provides the ITS workforce with ITS learning through training (offered by ITS PCB partners, such as NTI), technical assistance (Peer-to-Peer exchanges and webinars), and resource databases.
(View responses)
 
  Training
(ITS training offered by ITS PCB Program partners, including Center for ITS Training and Education (CITE), National Transit Institute (NTI), Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and FHWA)
(View responses)
  Are you aware of the training provided by the ITS PCB Program and/or its partners?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
  Has your organization used training provided by the ITS PCB Program and/or its partners?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
  How helpful was this training?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
  Technical assistance (ITS Peer-to-Peer Program and Talking Technology Transportation (T3) webinars)
(View responses)
  Are you aware of the technical assistance provided by the ITS PCB Program?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
  Has your organization used the technical assistance provided by the ITS PCB Program?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
  How helpful was this technical assistance?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
  Knowledge Resources (Databases that offer a unique collection of reports, studies, technical documents, and instructional guides for planning, procuring, and deploying ITS. Four databases are available focused on ITS costs, benefits, lessons learned, and deployment statistics.)
(View responses)
  Are you aware of the knowledge resources provided by the ITS PCB Program?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
  Has your organization used the knowledge resources provided by the ITS PCB Program?
1.
2.
3.
(View responses)
  How helpful were these knowledge resources?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
(View responses)
 

21.  Do you have any additional comments regarding your organization's experience with technology?
(View responses)
 

22.  Have you finished this questionnaire?
1.
2.
(View responses)
 



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