Evaluation of Omnilink demand driven transit operations: flex-route services


R Farwell

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - route design, ridership - demand, economics - appraisal/evaluation


The PRTC, operating as OmniRide, provides express commuter bus services, local public transit services, commuter rail feeder services and administers ridesharing and guaranteed ride home programs. The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) is located in Northem Virginia on the suburban/exurban fringe of the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The PRTC saw an opportunity to address two competing local transportation needs. General public demand appeared too low for conventional transit, but it was thought that the combined general public and human service demand would yield sufficient demand for a system using a flexible service delivery concept. This would fulfill the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement without creating a separate complementary paratransit system. The PRTC recognized the match between the dispatching and billing requirements of the transit services being considered and the benefits of a technology rich system of Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) enhanced real-time scheduling and dispatching. A project team was assembled and an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Operational Test proposal was prepared, submitted and accepted by the Federal Government. Information about the OmniLink flex-route service planning, implementation and first year operations are discussed. The first year of flex- route service is evaluated in terms of productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. A few key lessons learned in the process of developing flex-route services and an ITS enhanced system are also discussed.


Permission to publish abstract given by AET.