Benefits to the Academic Community of Standardization of Bus Transit Automatic Vehicle Location Data


Steve Robinson

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring


Automatic vehicle location, bus transit


Automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems offer transit agencies and the academic community vast quantities of data on the operation of bus transit networks. However, turning this raw data into useful metrics that are of interest can be cumbersome and requires a significant amount of processing of AVL log files. Both transit agencies and the academic community would benefit if the AVL system output such metrics in a standardized format. This paper summarizes existing data exchange standards used in the bus transit industry and explains their benefits. A recent project undertaken by London Buses to analyze dwell time data is described, and the difficulties and costs involved in collecting the basic data required for analysis are highlighted. The paper proposes that more data standards should be defined for data output by AVL systems. If these standards were then implemented by AVL vendors, transit agencies and academics could get easy access to useful information that otherwise would require much time and cost to obtain.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.