Quick Response for Special Needs. Task 67. Strategic Assessment of Wireless Capabilities and Needs for the Public Transportation Industry

Public transportation operators increasingly rely on wireless technologies as they develop additional services for their customers. Issues associated with spectrum availability, technology options, funding, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, and interoperability with public safety organizations, among others, all have a bearing on how new services might be delivered. Successful implementation of new services also requires cooperation among operations, information technology, and radio offices within an organization. The most recent general survey of the public transportation industry's usage of radio frequencies was conducted 10 years ago. Since then, radio-frequency spectrum has become a more scarce and valuable resource. Throughout this period, transit agencies have experienced increasing difficulties with common, local radio frequency interference, particularly with cellular service providers. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) actions regarding radio-frequency reallocation and refarming could potentially require costly replacement of public transportation radio systems. To respond adequately, the American Public Transportation Association needs reliable information about what public transportation agencies are doing with their radio frequencies. There is great variability in the types and sizes of public transportation usage of spectrum. In addition, some agencies do not know the details of their systems because they were set up for them by third parties, so simply asking transit agencies what they have may not be sufficient. In the competitive marketplace for communications spectrum, the public transportation industry needs to be able to respond to proposed and anticipated actions quickly and accurately. Research is needed to identify (1) the current state of wireless communications capability in the public transportation industry, (2) future directions, and (3) obstacles and opportunities associated with refarming and rebanding. The objectives of this research are to develop a profile of current radio-frequency and wireless-data usage for the transit industry and to assess future needs. This information will be used to gauge the transit industry's need for retaining communications assets and reserving additional spectrum to support growing data and operational needs. The research will entail a comprehensive survey and analysis of transit agency current radio-frequency and wireless-data usage and future needs. The research will encompass all modes and sizes of transit operations including rural and paratransit. Data will be gathered on equipment used, channels licensed, bandwidth in use, data-voice capacity, method or modes used for voice and data transfers, operational practices, and future needs. The research will also identify key issues and evaluate potential courses of action that could be pursued by the transit industry to address these issues.


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  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $99740.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-06, Task 6

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Parker, Stephan

  • Performing Organizations:

    Science Applications International Corporation

    1710 SAIC Drive
    McLean, VA  United States  22102
  • Principal Investigators:

    Bratvold, Delma

  • Start Date: 20060828
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20080331
  • Source Data: RiP Project 11575

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462995
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transit Cooperative Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-06, Task 6
  • Files: RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:14PM