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3 CHAPTER 1 Introduction The transit industry is now recognizing what many indus- the 2nd Edition of the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service tries and retailers have known for a long time: to increase Manual (Kittelson & Associates 2003), for example, envisions sales, you must understand and satisfy your customers. Tran- the use of archived AVL data to monitor the quality of service sit is rapidly coming up to speed with collecting customer delivered to transit riders. information and using market research to develop a customer APC technology has a longer history in the transit indus- orientation. This process requires an ongoing commitment try. The integration of APC and AVL systems has now be- to asking customers what they want, responding to their come commonplace, enhancing the locational referencing of needs, and following up with monitoring and evaluation to passenger movement activity and thereby ensuring higher ensure the agency is delivering on its promises (Cambridge quality APC data. APC deployment is expanding rapidly, es- Systematics 1999). pecially in medium and smaller size agencies (Volpe National At the same time that the transit market research paradigm Transportation Systems Center 2005), and APC data has is evolving toward a greater customer orientation, a shift is also become a valuable source of information in market research, taking place with the implementation of ITS technologies. service planning, and scheduling. These technologies, whose primary purposes have been to im- EFP technologies are evolving beyond the electronic regis- prove transit operations, enhance convenience, and facilitate tering fareboxes now in widespread use in the transit industry. the flow of information to customers, also have the capability Magnetic stripe and smart cards are being used by a growing of recovering vast amounts of data about customers and the share of transit riders. Data from card systems are highly valu- transit services they consume, thereby providing a rich re- able because they can identify customers and customer groups. source for market researchers. These data offer the capability of following customers through Several ITS technologies hold the greatest promise for re- the system and provide an opportunity to relate customers' covering data that will benefit transit market research. They in- revealed travel behavior to the attitudes and preferences they clude AVL systems, APCs, electronic fare payment systems express in traditional surveys. (EFP), automatic vehicle monitoring (AVM), and Web AVM technology recovers data on vehicles' mechanical and systems (including Web tracking software or Web logs). In electrical systems. While much of this information is relevant addition to data collection technologies, there are also several to maintenance activities, some information (covering lift de- emerging support technologies. The key support technologies ployments, door openings, and signal priority requests) has include data warehousing systems, which organize and potential value for market research and customer service use. integrate data recovered from various ITS technologies, and Transit agencies are increasingly tapping the capabilities of the geographic information systems (GIS), which facilitate the Web to provide information and services to customers. In turn, analysis and display of spatial data. Web-tracking software compiles data logs that can provide in- In the early years of its adoption in the transit industry, AVL formation about customers to the agency on pages viewed, technology was viewed as a means of providing real time vehi- navigation paths through the website, the travel itineraries cle status information in support of dispatching and operations queried, the real time status of vehicles serving specific locations, management. However, the industry is beginning to realize the and other dynamic information. Similar path-tracking software value of archived AVL data in the areas of performance moni- exists for automated telephone systems. toring, scheduling, and service planning (Casey 2000, 2003; The intent of this Guidebook is to show transit market re- Furth et al. 2006). The treatment of quality-of-service issues in searchers how ITS data can be tapped to learn more about