Use of Archived Bus Location, Dispatch, and Ridership Data for Transit Analysis


Hina Golani

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - signage/information, technology - geographic information systems, mode - bus, mode - mass transit


Visual Basic, Vehicle locating systems, Transit operating agencies, Transit lines, Transit, Public transit lines, Public transit, Passenger counting, Mass transit lines, Mass transit, Local transit, GIS, Geographic information systems, Geocoding, Computer aided dispatch (CAD), Champaign (Illinois), Bus transit operations, AVL, Automatic vehicle location, Automatic passenger counting, Automatic location systems


Some of the novel ways archived computer-aided dispatch (CAD), automatic vehicle location (AVL), and automatic passenger counter (APC) information have been used by the Champaign–Urbana Mass Transit District in Illinois in the past year are described. Geographic information system (GIS) tools were used to visualize and understand schedule deviation and passenger flow information for a bus route experiencing regular delays, and various ridership and operational performance analyses were performed. GIS made it easy to identify the problem blocks (bus assignments) and trips while allowing data visualization regarding spatial location and passenger flow. Another innovative application has used the archived screen messages in the CAD-AVL system to analyze the response times of dispatchers in the control room when an operator has initiated a request to talk to a supervisor. A Visual Basic script was developed to parse the extensive data, calculate response times for all requests, determine whether any requests were not answered at all, and identify vehicles in which attempts to establish contact were unsuccessful. This application helped verify operator complaints regarding delayed or absent responses, monitor dispatcher efficiency, and identify problems with the radio equipment.