Interactive Transit Station Information System (ITSIS)
Although public transit is an important means of transportation for many American travelers, it is still largely underutilized. Encouraging greater transit use is seen as part of the integrated solution to the congestion problem in metropolitan areas and has been a major objective for transportation innovations such as Integrated Corridor Management (ICM). The real-time transit traveler information system (TTIS) has been one of the key innovations to enhance the user experience and encouraging mode shifts.
Effective TTIS solutions have already been implemented worldwide and are providing essential core travel information to users, empowering them to make better transportation choices. While this information is typically still provided to travelers using dynamic messaging signs (DMS) at fixed locations, recently, it is becoming more common for it to be made available through the internet (website) and personal mobile devices (e.g., smart phones) with enhanced connectivity applications installed on them (FTA, 2011). In some cases, real-time information is simply “pushed” to interested individual users without the need for significant user input. However, as we look at moving to a more robust interactive system there exist several technical gaps in the current implementation of TTIS that must be overcome. These can generally be grouped into three major categories: limited coverage, low update rate, and lack of "personalized" information.
Transit users express interest in getting not only real-time ‘next arrival’ information but also in interactively determining the best possible use of the transit network for them individually. This is focused on finding the “best” travel itinerary from the current station/stop to the final destination station/stop using the most up-to-date transit network status information, including detailed connectivity information about transfer point(s), out of vehicle travel instructions and total trip duration. Customers are also interested in information about real-time vehicle load factors (i.e., the ratio of actual passengers to capacity), the availability of bike racks or wheelchair spaces, and other information that allows them to make their trip in a timely, comfortable and easy manner.