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FW: Introduction

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  • Eric Britton
    Eric, Thanks for the welcome. This will probably turn out to be more than a bit of information. I have been working in community transportation for 22 years,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2008
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      Eric,

      Thanks for the welcome. This will probably turn out to be more than a bit
      of information.

      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
      scheduling.

      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
      Europe.

      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
      meaningful.

      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.

      Taunya Kopke

      Kopke & Associates, Inc.
      http://wwww.kopke.net
      Taunya.Kopke@...
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