Thanks for the welcome. This will probably turn out to be more than a bit
I have been working in community transportation for 22 years, 10 as a
manager and 12 as a consultant. I have a Masters Degree in Political
Science, Public Policy, from the University of Northern Iowa. I spent time
as a planner in Iowa, and as a fiscal analyst for the Iowa Legislature,
before becoming involved in transportation.
I am intensely interested in demand response service. My consulting work
has included TDP's and other traditional planning efforts. However, my
favorite work has been in demand response service planning and computerized
As a transit manager, circumstances led me to create a system called zone
routing (not the same as taxi zones or run polygons). I have developed the
system a little further as a consultant. I worked for Trapeze Software
Group for two years, and had the opportunity to work with PASS developers to
build zone routing into Trapeze. PASS now has a feature called "Service
Area Routes." This has been implemented in several locations in the US and
Essentially, a zone route is a series of polygons on a map--neighborhoods
linked together in a chain--with a published timetable. Each neighborhood
is allotted a time slot. The route is served by as many vehicles as needed
with respect to the needed headways. Passengers reserve rides for the time
the vehicle is scheduled to be in the neighborhood they are riding from.
Service is door to door. There are no street routes, and no bus stops, to
deviate or flex from--it is thus not traditional flex routing.
Because there is a schedule, more rides can be shared, and service can be
faster. Productivity can be greater, and can improve over time, depending
upon how well the service is designed, operated, and marketed.
The circumstances and actions that led to this are probably familiar to
some. As a manager, I had too few runs to meet the demand. Seasoned
passengers controlled the schedules by reserving rides early, so some areas
did not get much service. The solution was to create zone routes. This
helped us operationalize a rational policy to govern where and when service
would be provided. It also doubled productivity.
I have experimented with a number of ways to plan zone routes, some working
better than others. GIS helps. There have been operational problems,
including driver/passenger loyalty issues that plague many attempts to
improve demand response service.
Zone routing is an idea that some have thought to be interesting, and others
have ... well not thought to be interesting. Any thoughts are always
welcomed. I may post more information if I believe I can add anything
I have not worked much in transit during the past three years (parenting and
other activities), and am catching up. I am having a lot of fun talking to
friends and reading the latest (Koffman & Burkhardt and others). I am
fortunate to have come across your forums and the web sites. One of the
reasons I have delayed posting an introduction is that I have been absorbed
in the information you have indexed on the web sites.
I like working in service planning and scheduling system improvement. We
know that scheduling systems offer mores functionality than call centers and
managers have time to fully explore. No one uses everything they could be
using. Opportunities are missed, and sometimes worse. I enjoy walking
managers and teams though a planning process to explore and define their
service problems, issues, and goals; to identify and prioritize features of
the systems they already own that can potentially help them; and then to
give them guidelines and, if needed, a test/simulation environment system to
safely play with the options. It is very rewarding work because it has the
potential to improve transportation service for people who need it.
I also like TDP's. I would love to work on a PhD, though because I am far
from transit researchers, this may never be possible. On the other hand, my
family and I may be able to relocate in the near future.
Thanks for the sites/forums. As a former forum owner/moderator
(CommunityTrans, TransitProf, TrapezeUsers), I know that it takes time and
effort just to do the housekeeping.
Kopke & Associates, Inc.