Demand Response Transportation Planning and Visualization Tools

Demand response transportation (DRT) providers need tools that can harness the 'big data' of trip origins and destinations into service plans that allow them to expand service, increase effectiveness, and understand tradeoffs from service design and delivery decisions. Mountain Mobility, for example, is like many other DRT providers in that they have a growing need to provide service to their community and not enough funds to continue to meet this need using traditional DRT service methods. A recent service plan recommends that Mountain Mobility explore alternative service delivery models such as zone-based routes. However, Mountain Mobility does not possess the staff time nor resources for developing service plans on its own. As is the case with most agencies, the service planning is contracted to a consulting group that will conduct a one-time analysis. This solution does not allow the agency to quickly respond to changing circumstances or fully evaluate the impacts. DRT systems are constantly generating trip demand data, but are unable to employ this enormous resource because they lack the tools. What Mountain Mobility and countless other DRT providers need is a toolbox that allows them to import existing data against a backdrop of Census and other data to visualize demand and rapidly explore and evaluate different scheduling scenarios. This is not automated scheduling software which makes sense of unstructured demand. Instead it is a transportation planning toolbox that seeks to identify patterns in the demand to allow for better service delivery models to be deployed. This application proposes to develop a suite of demand response planning tools that can be quickly and easily employed by DRT providers who wish to develop and evaluate service design scenarios regardless of their technical capacities. This toolbox will consist of many of the tools that are currently employed by transportation planners including origin/destination analysis, frequency analysis, transportation-disadvantaged assessments, and social justice measures. There are two components that make this proposal essential. First, the transit system will be able to use the tools on its own because the tools will be easy to use and based on existing data that the transit system already generates. Second, the transit system will be able to employ the tools at any time, allowing for rapid responses to changes in the service environment. With these tools, the transit system can conduct its own analysis at any time. From a customer standpoint, these tools are essential because stagnant service delivery designs can result in denied service, increased ride times, and increased costs. When transit systems are able to adapt to the real-time needs of their communities, the number of customers who are served will increase and the customer experience will be greatly enhanced. The project is split into three phases. Phase 1 develops a common schema for importing service data. Phase 2 develops tools that can be added to Geographic Information Systems. Phase 3 converts these tools into a high-quality web-based interface. To accomplish these tasks, we have organized a team of experts in the fields of transportation policy, transportation planning, transit operations, user-interface/user-experience, and mobile and web-based applications. When combined with an innovative and motivated public transportation provider, this team will have the expertise and industry-knowledge to deliver a high-quality product that enhances personal mobility. In addition, new and improved tools will be easy to implement into the toolbox and web interface. The industry is rapidly changing. DRT systems that are unable to conduct real-time service planning are months or years behind the trends because of the delay in planning. Having quickly accessible planning tools based on currently available data is the only way that demand response providers will be able to adapt and thrive through these changes.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $296068
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Project Managers:

    Kadibhai, Mustansir

  • Performing Organizations:

    North Carolina State University

    Institute for Transportation Research and Education
    Campus Box 8601
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27695-8601
  • Principal Investigators:

    Monast, Kai

  • Start Date: 20170801
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20190731
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41772

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01641213
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 2018-12
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 19 2017 1:01AM