SOURCE: RouteMatch

RouteMatch

May 01, 2012 09:15 ET

RouteMatch Leads Transit Industry in Mobile Technology Innovations as Multiple Transit Agencies Go Live on Tablet Devices

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - May 1, 2012) - RouteMatch Software today announced that transit agencies across the U.S. have been rolling out commercially available tablets as the mobile data devices of choice for in-vehicle driver and dispatcher communications, in-vehicle navigation and vehicle tracking, and real-time data collection and analysis. Examples of transit agencies that have been using the tablets over the past six months include: Athens Transit System, East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA), Pipestone County Transit, and Martin County Transit.

Affordability, Ease of Use and Low Maintenance Cited as Benefits
Key benefits cited include affordability, ease of use, quick uploading of enhancements, and consistent connectivity. By pairing the tablets with RouteMatch Software, transit agencies using the tablets also report improvement in accommodating passenger requests, tighter routing abilities, as well as improved communications between dispatchers and drivers. Real-time data is available for instant viewing and analysis. Transit agencies using tablet technologies operate in both cold and warm climates.

"RouteMatch's decision to offer our customers affordable, nimble alternatives to traditional mobile data computers reflects our commitment to providing innovative, practical solutions that work well in the field. The tablets are delivered pre-loaded with our software, enabling customers to get up and running fast. We believe tablets are a smart option that allows agencies to stay on top of their data, make the most use of their limited funds, and serve their riders and community in the best possible way," says Tim Quinn, Executive Vice President and Co-founder, RouteMatch Software.

ETHRA - Replacing Mobile Data Computers with Tablets
East Tennessee Human Resource Agency operates tablets in six of their vehicles, in some of the most rural areas that the agency covers. The agency is currently operating both traditional mobile data computers and Samsung Galaxy tablets on its fleet of 137 vehicles. As traditional mobile data computers expire, or need to be shipped for repairs, ETHRA has gradually replaced them with the tablets due to lower costs and overall ease of use.

"We have had very few issues with the tablets, and no connectivity issues," says Mike Patterson, ETHRA's Director of Transportation. "We have found Tablets are much easier for our drivers to use -- and it appears that they are quite durable. We have also found the mapping selection capabilities more robust."

Once ETHRA decided to install the tablets, it took one month from having them in hand to getting the first batch up and running, and drivers trained. Each tablet can be repaired or replaced in under 20 minutes, if needed. This technology upgrade has not only paid off in time savings and very little down time, it has resulted in significant cost savings as well. Whereas the mobile data computers typically run a few thousand dollars per unit and can get expensive when being shipped for repairs, ETHRA purchased each tablet for under $250, complete with an Otterbox, the protective performance case for ruggedization.

The decision to utilize tablets has reaped other benefits as well. ETHRA's pre-vehicle inspections were previously captured on paper. Since the tablets use a non-proprietary Android platform, ETHRA's web developer and mobility manager were able to quickly create an application for recording pre-vehicle inspections such as tire pressure, fluid levels, wheel chair lifts, and others inspections across 23 check points. Reports can now also be easily pulled.

"Before, a driver would conduct an inspection, but no one would ever know if it was actually done, or what was measured. Now, because of the tablets' web access, we can verify if someone has completed their inspection or not right from headquarters," explains Mike. "We already see the difference; they are excellent products and provide terrific value."

Athens Transit System - Keeping Drivers on Track and Tightening Routes with Tablets
Athens Transit System (ATS) is another forward-thinking transit agency that has been using commercially available tablets with RouteMatch Software. Prior to using the tablets, ATS' senior dispatcher would have to record miles traveled which could take at least two hours, and sometimes a week, depending on trip volume and how accurately the data was recorded by drivers on pen and paper.

"The tablets, pre-loaded with RouteMatch's software, were very easy to use -- a lot like the iPhone," said Patricia Barnett-Hale, Superintendent of Operations, Athens Transit System. "They are sturdy on mounts, and even our less technologically-savvy drivers have adapted to them very quickly and love them."

By using the Galaxy Tabs, miles between passenger pick-ups and drop-offs are automatically recorded in the devices, can be printed out within minutes, and then more accurately captured and delivered for National Transit Database (NTD) reporting.

"We can easily see when same day cancellations or adjustments need to be made. Knowing where each vehicle and passenger is at all times allows us to quickly slide passengers into vehicles, or group routes. This means we can accommodate more passenger requests, even if they are unplanned," says Patricia. "Best of all, the tablets were really affordable."

Pipestone County Transit and Martin County Transit - Affordability & Improved On Time Performance
Unlike ATS and ETHRA who were already using RouteMatch Software prior to installing the Samsung Galaxy tablets, Minnesota-based Pipestone County Transit and Martin County Transit completed implementation of RouteMatch passenger and vehicle management technology platform, comprising of scheduling and dispatching software combined with in-vehicle Samsung Galaxy Tabs to track vehicle locations and communicate with drivers.

The tablets, pre-loaded with advanced scheduling and dispatching software, have enabled the transit agencies to improve the agencies' demand response operations. The tablets help the transit agencies track and verify status of passenger pick-ups and drop-offs, easily record and alert drivers of same-day bookings or changes in manifests in real-time, improve on time performance, and facilitate communications between drivers and dispatchers.

Martin County Transit
"RouteMatch's implementation went very well and was much easier than we initially thought," said Scott Higgins, Transit Coordinator for Martin County Transit, which services 65,000 passengers a year. "The software has proved beneficial in helping us with better planning and routing, and gaining complete visibility into where our buses are at all times."

Prior to using RouteMatch Software and the Galaxy Tabs, Martin County Transit used paper, clipboard and a two-way radio system for communicating driver manifests. The implementation of the devices, as well as the new software and staff training, took approximately three months.

With the software and tablets, Martin County Transit has been able to view usage of routes and verify both passenger and route data. By utilizing the planning and reporting tools found in RouteMatch Software, the transit agency can now group paratransit routes more meaningfully, and more closely adhere to schedules. The Galaxy tablets serve as a nice communication tool between dispatch and the drivers as well.

"We decided as a consortium that it would be more economical to go with the Samsung Galaxy Tabs. Our drivers acclimated to the devices fairly quickly," said Scott. "We encouraged our drivers -- most of whom are semi-retired -- to individually acclimate themselves with the devices, and then provided individualized trainings for each of the drivers. We've been pleased that it is so simple to use and durability has been good."

Martin County Transit operates 50% of their rides as bus services and the remaining 50% as taxi services.

Pipestone County Transit
Neighboring transit agency Pipestone County Transit has experienced similar results. Utilizing window mounts, Pipestone County Transit has installed the Samsung Galaxy Tab mobile data devices in five vehicles.

Said Marc Hall, Transit Director, Pipestone County Transit, "We've had the devices running for a few months now, and our drivers love them. With seven drivers and five vehicles, we wanted something bigger than phones. These devices offered much better visibility for our drivers. At the end of the day, we really think this is the next wave. We look at the devices as we would laptops. They are accessible and the performance and durability has been good. It really helped it become proper routing options and do their jobs. We also like the availability of the general applications. We are collecting data and fine-tuning data."

Both Minnesota transit agencies are utilizing carrier services provided by Verizon Wireless, and the technologies are deployed through RouteMatch Cloud Services, enabling the two transit agencies, as well as other transit agencies, to take advantage of the ability to access one centralized database over the Web.

Offering More and Diverse Mobile Data Device Options
Being hardware and network carrier agnostic, RouteMatch offers the commercially available tablets as a solution in its expanding portfolios of diverse mobile offerings to help transit agencies automate data collection, mobile communication, in-vehicle navigation, and emergency response capabilities. RouteMatch applies deep industry knowledge, work flow, and customer feedback to bring best-of-breed mobile software and hardware solutions to transit agencies.

"RouteMatch is pleased that transit agencies are embracing the transition to the tablets, and are excited that our customers are so engaged and have partnered with us to provide continuous feedback on how to improve their user experience and rapidly make more enhancements. We are committed to raising the bar in the industry and are confident that the tablet solution offers one of the best combinations of flexibility and affordability that our customers deserve," says Tim.

About RouteMatch Software
RouteMatch is the leading provider of end-to-end transit ITS software and innovative passenger and vehicle technology solutions. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, GA and works with more than 500 transit agencies across the U.S. and internationally, providing quality software and customer service. Partnering with public and private sector passenger transportation providers, the company's products address routing, scheduling, dispatching, billing, reporting, fixed route, CAD/AVL, paratransit and fixed route integration, traveler information services, fleet management, mobility management, mobile solutions for transit, and more. Additional information about RouteMatch's ITS technologies is available at www.routematch.com or by calling RouteMatch toll-free at (US) 1-888-840-8791.

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