Weigh in the advantages of procuring new information technology (IT) assets, and maintain an asset management system that details new IT inventory.

Washoe County’s experience implementing a comprehensive transit ITS program.

May 2010
Reno,Nevada,United States

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Lesson Learned

A comprehensive transit ITS deployment involves procurement of significant amount of information technology (IT) assets. Lessons learned from the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County’s experience with procuring IT assets offer the following guidance:
  • Weigh in the advantages of procuring new hardware and software when feasible. RTC procured new servers and communications hardware as part of the implementation of transit ITS. The alternative would have been to resource or reuse existing equipment. However, preparing the existing hardware for RTC's comprehensive transit ITS would have required additional IT staff time. Also, RTC’s existing hardware was already partially through its lifecycle, so the legacy equipment replaced no longer had full retail value. The primary advantage of new hardware and software is that it allowed RTC to more quickly implement its transit ITS. Because it was new, the hardware was state-of-the-art and met all of the contractor's requirements. The hardware came without any potential issues such as bad components or viruses, and it did not require any reformatting or reconfiguring to prepare it for use in transit ITS.
  • Plan for space and temperature management for new IT assets. With all new hardware, IT staff must plan for space and temperature management when implementing a new IT system. Rack spaces can be reduced by utilizing a special switch with integrated monitor and keyboard to manage several servers at a time. New cooling requirements may be necessary with the additional equipment. IT staff may also want to purchase workstations with small form factor casing to minimize the desktop and below-desk space of the system at dispatcher and other key personnel stations.
  • Maintain an asset management system that details new IT inventory. When RTC procured its new hardware, it arrived as a single delivery with a single line item in the invoice. This complicated the tracking of the hardware and knowing where to assign each component. The issue of not being aware where each component belongs complicates future work. It is more difficult to track which components are operational and not in use, and which are due for lifecycle replacement. RTC IT staff recommend that an agency request line item descriptions of all hardware, whether they are procured through the transit ITS contractor or a third party. An asset management list is a means to identify each component, how it will be used, when it was procured and put into use, its current disposition and its lifecycle. The asset management list will help in planning the ongoing cost of hardware replacement. It also makes maintenance easier because the location and purpose of each component is known. Finally, an asset management list allows an agency to identify components that are being utilized or underutilized.
Agencies should weigh in the advantages of procuring new ITS assets as well as strive to develop and maintain an IT asset management system early on when implementing a comprehensive transit ITS program. RTC has largely achieved the goals of its transit ITS deployment program and benefited significantly in many ways including better schedule adherence, increased ridership, reduced emissions, and increased customer satisfaction.

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Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Intelligent Transportation System Implementation Evaluation Study

Author: Tina Wu, Matt Weatherford, Ancila Kaiparambil, Linna Zhang

Published By: Federal Transit Administration U.S. Department of Transportation

Source Date: May 2010

Other Reference Number: FTA Report FTA- NV-26-7005-2010.1

URL: http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/RTC_ITS_Eval_Study_section508.pdf

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Benefits From This Source

Automatic vehicle location (AVL) on Reno buses leads to nearly four percent increase in on-time performance for paratransit services and more comprehensive schedule adherence data to create more accurate schedules.

Estimated reduction of 9.37 million personal vehicle miles traveled and 4,252 metric tons of CO2 from increased transit ridership in Reno, Nevada.

Forty-five percent reduction in complaints by paratransit riders, 50 percent less missed trips due to mechanical problems, and a new trip planning tool for fixed-route riders introduced as part of ITS deployment in Reno.

Overtime hours for drivers reduced and no staff increase necessary to handle over 10 percent increase in transit ridership over six years.

Lessons From This Source

Be prepared to use local resources to service mission critical system components, and provide ongoing O&M training to maximize system benefits.

Consider procuring computer and network hardware independently when feasible and procure right-sized systems.

Define clear goals for a comprehensive transit ITS deployment program and track the achievement of those goals to evaluate program's success.

Designate the agency project manager as the single point of contact with the contractor and evaluate track record of contractor’s project management.

Develop requirements using widely accepted standards, preferably the open source compatible ones if available, and review those requirements immediately before requesting proposals from contractors.

Do not expect to see significant operations staff reductions due to implementing ITS technologies, but do expect service improvements using the same staff levels.

Encourage staff to find creative and efficient uses of ITS to improve operations through better communications.

Ensure that the management responsible for transit ITS planning is knowledgeable on agency’s labor contracts and how labor contracts affect effective utilization of ITS tools.

Expect agency's information technology (IT) operations and maintenance budget to increase in order to train qualified IT staff to maintain a new suite of hardware and software.

For a comprehensive transit ITS deployment program, select an agency project manager with skills in planning, information technology, and communications.

Identify champions early to facilitate communications, project management, and staff ownership for successful deployment of a comprehensive transit ITS program.

In deploying a comprehensive transit ITS program, develop strategies and requirements for planning, procurement, implementation, and ongoing operations.

Prepare agency staff for implementation of new ITS technologies and involve maintenance and information technology (IT) staff in the installation process.

To avoid project implementation delays and unanticipated costs, perform a thorough review of the existing technologies during the planning phase of a comprehensive transit ITS deployment.

To avoid surprises after implementation of a comprehensive transit ITS program, perform a detailed analysis of costs for operations and maintenance during the project planning phase.

Understand that the contractor’s availability to remain on site after the deployment of a comprehensive transit ITS is important, so is the contractor’s ability to work with the original equipment manufacturer.

Weigh in the advantages of procuring new information technology (IT) assets, and maintain an asset management system that details new IT inventory.

Lesson ID: 2011-00614