Transit Service Reliability: Analyzing Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) Data For On-Time Performance and to Identify Conditions Leading to Service Degradation

Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems are computer-based vehicle tracking systems that function by measuring the real-time position of each vehicle and relaying this information back to a central location. AVL systems are most frequently used for fleet management to identify the location of vehicles for a variety of purposes including: improved dispatch, operation efficiency, and faster response times to disruptions in service, such as vehicle failure or unexpected congestion; quicker responses to threats of criminal activity; and improved data for future planning purposes. Data from an AVL system can also be used to measure, monitor, and improve service reliability, also known as on-time performance. The main objective of this research is investigate the use of AVL data for improving transit service reliability. This can be achieved by using better on-time performance (OTP) techniques and by identifying conditions leading to service degradation that can assist transit agencies in providing higher quality of service. As on-time performance is very important to the transit customer, OTP strategies can help improve customer satisfaction and attract new transit riders. Reliability is one of the areas that transit agencies can use to improve service at a relatively low cost. Therefore, the benefit to cost ratio of improving on-time performance is expected to be significant. This research will concentrate in two related areas for improving service reliability: 1) investigate the challenges and issues towards measuring, monitoring, and improving on-time performance and 2) identify service conditions observable in AVL data that precede service problems. Output products include recommendations for improving on-time performance and a list of candidate factors or conditions that could lead to service degradation and how transit agencies could use this information. The results from this research may warrant the development of computerized tools as the next step.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $75000
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    National Center for Transit Research

    University of South Florida
    4202 East Fowler Avenue, CUT 100
    Tampa, FL  United States  33620
  • Project Managers:

    Volinski, Joel

  • Performing Organizations:

    National Center for Transit Research

    University of South Florida
    4202 East Fowler Avenue, CUT 100
    Tampa, FL  United States  33620
  • Principal Investigators:

    Gan, Albert

    Barbeau, Sean

  • Start Date: 20120915
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160131
  • Source Data: RiP Project 33871

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01525073
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Center for Transit Research
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC22, 2117905017
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: May 21 2014 1:00AM