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61 APPENDIX B City of Madison--Metro Transit Case Study City of Madison-Metro Transit (Madison Metro) provides transit services (which includes operations, maintenance, and fixed route bus service to a metropolitan area of approximately paratransit). Staff numbers are relatively limited. Planning 250,000 residents. The Madison Metro system comprises and scheduling consists of six persons, while fourteen persons 56 routes (including four dedicated to the University of Wis- (including nine customer service representatives) make up consin campus and one providing capitol area parking shuttle the marketing and customer services unit. A two-person service). Its fleet of 202 buses carried over 12 million boarding information systems unit is responsible for managing data riders in 2006. Transit use in the Madison region is quite high across the agency. in comparison with other metropolitan areas of similar size. Madison Metro is a department of the City of Madison, Census 2000 data show that over 12% of city residents com- which has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus mute by transit, a likely reflection of the presence of a major side, it has been supported by the city's information services university enrolling over 41,000 students and a metropolitan (IS) unit in integrating GIS data with transit ITS and market economy in which more than 30% of the labor force is em- research data. Also, the agency is overseen by the city's Park- ployed in the state and local government sectors. ing and Transit Commission, which has endorsed downtown Preliminary analysis pointed to the following reasons for parking pricing policies that are very transit supportive (e.g., selecting Madison Metro as a case study for this Guidebook: monthly parking fees in the city's downtown garages are $133, compared with $47 for a monthly transit pass). On the nega- Madison Metro is a moderately sized agency that has de- tive side, Madison Metro is required to conform to the city's ployed ITS technologies fairly recently. Deployment of policies that may not be applicable, such as for Web design, AVL, APC, and magnetic stripe card systems occurred in and it receives little support from the city's IS department in 20042005. Prior to deployment there was little data maintaining its ITS databases. collection or analysis. Madison Metro has developed a successful pass program Experience With AVL, APC, involving the University of Wisconsin, local colleges, the and Magnetic Stripe Cards City of Madison, and area hospitals. Data from magnetic stripe cards are used in pass program pricing and service Madison Metro participated with other transit agencies in planning. the state in a system procurement process coordinated by the Madison Metro has drawn on non-transit ITS data in its Wisconsin DOT (WiDOT). Milwaukee Transit played a lead market research activities. role in selecting ITS technologies, while the other transit agen- cies could opt in if they desired. Although Madison Metro's The research team met with Madison Metro staff in March general manager has been in his current position for less than 2007. a year, he was directly involved in the WiDOT-coordinated ITS procurement process while serving as the GM for another of the participating transit agencies. Organizational Structure The ITS technologies selected by Madison Metro include Madison Metro's organizational structure is comparatively AVL (with automated voice annunciation) and APCs, de- flat (see Figure B-1). Market research and service planning/ ployed in 2004, and magnetic stripe cards, deployed in 2005. scheduling are distinct functions on a par with finance and APCs are installed on 38% of the fleet. All of the systems are

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Figure B-1. Madison Metro organizational structure.

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63 integrated, with a single log on for operators. AVL data are 20 buses (10% of the fleet). They are in the process of in- radio-transmitted on a one-minute polling cycle, while stop- stalling Wi-Fi transmission to enable real time feeds of the level data are stored on an on-board computer. The agency is camera images to the dispatch center. Concerns about grant- presently developing a real time stop arrival-reporting link on ing external access to the images through the state's open its website using the AVL poll data. Automated internal/ record laws have factored in the decision not to archive cam- external stop announcements are made at more than half of era image data. While the cameras offer a potential means of the 2,100 stops in the system. validating passenger movements recorded by APCs, the two Beyond the base cash fare, there are a variety of payment/ systems are not currently installed on the same buses. fare options for riders. Options include a 31-day pass (acti- Prior to deploying its ITS technologies, Madison Metro vated on first use); youth semester and summer passes; adult, collected very little passenger data. Ride checks were done by youth, and senior-disabled 10-ride cards; and unlimited- staff to collect data for NTD reporting and electronic farebox ride weekend family passes. In addition, Madison Metro has data provided summary totals for routes along with operator negotiated pass program agreements with the university, sev- keyed counts associated with pass users. Although the new eral area colleges, the City of Madison, and several area hos- technologies had been in active service for less than two years pitals. Transfers on the system are free. at the time of the site visit, staff provided a number of exam- A breakdown of fare revenue in 2006 shows a substantial ples of ITS data applications in the areas of customer service, share linked to the negotiated pass programs (48.7%), fol- market research, service planning, and scheduling. lowed by 10-ride tickets (19.7%), passes (17.8%), and cash Madison Metro has historically relied on customer tele- fares (13.8%). Over time, the share of revenues from cash phone contacts with service representatives and community and 10-ride tickets has been declining, while the share from meetings as a primary source of customer information. Using 31-day passes has been growing. the playback feature, they are now able to check vehicle loca- The introduction of magnetic stripe cards has facilitated tion status in the AVL data archive to help resolve customer recent changes in the pass program. Before cards were complaints. deployed, Madison Metro negotiated arrangements with area The agency is engaged in an ongoing stop planning, evalua- institutions that guaranteed a base level of funding in ex- tion, and consolidation process in an effort to improve service. change for unlimited rides up to an agreed upon threshold. As is often the case in the industry, proposals to relocate or Beyond the threshold, program participants were charged on eliminate stops encounter active responses from the commu- a per ride basis. Pass program ridership numbers were nity. As illustrated in Figure B-2, Madison Metro used GIS to recorded by operators pressing designated keys on electronic present APC boarding and alighting data, as well as street and fareboxes. The introduction of magnetic stripe cards has ef- employment data from other city agencies, to communicate fectively eliminated any concerns that may have existed about information related to a stop closure near the state capitol. In the accuracy of the pass program ridership counts. Beginning an easy-to-understand map, staff were able to communicate fall 2007, pass program agreements will be priced on a information on stop usage, distance to the nearest alternative straight per ride basis. Some of the new program agreements stops, the grade that pedestrians would face in walking to other include clauses that limit increases or decreases in revenues stops, and the number of persons working in the area affected from changes in ridership over previous years levels. by the proposed stop closure. Systemwide stop level boarding and alighting data are In another GIS application, staff drew on APC stop level being recovered by the APCs. Staff noted that passenger load data and adjacent traffic count data (obtained from the Madi- data are not "zeroed out" at the end of each bus trip, and son Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) to portray loads thus grow over the course of the day as more people ap- "exposure" at stops in the system for selling advertising space pear to be boarding than alighting. A software fix, such as that in stop shelters. Stop level passenger movement data were described by Furth et al. (2006), will need to be introduced to also analyzed by service planners to identify higher traffic lo- correct this problem. The accuracy of the boarding and cations for adding stop amenities. alighting counts also has not yet been systematically verified, The geography of Madison has influenced the design of the as in Kimpel et al. (2003). Staff thus had greater confidence in transit route network, and consequently places a greater than the ridership counts obtained from fare card and farebox data normal emphasis on on-time performance for effective ser- than from APC data. However, stop level APC data have vice delivery. The network converges on the isthmus between proved useful to service planners in targeting stop amenity Lakes Mendota, Monona, and Wingra, where state and city improvements at locations with the greatest passenger government, the University of Wisconsin, commercial activ- volumes. ity, and regional health services are concentrated. Residential The final element of Madison Metro's ITS technology and retail development spread out from both ends of the isth- package consists of digital cameras, which are installed on mus around and beyond the lakes. Outlying routes feed

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64 Figure B-2. Presentation of information on a proposed stop closure in Madison. passengers to four timed-transfer locations, which connect to the city's GIS to obtain addresses of residents within 1/4 mile trunk service that runs through the dense central corridor. for a mail survey of service preferences. Schedules must be written to ensure that the outlying trans- With less than two years experience working with ITS data, fers are made and that interlined trunk service departs from Madison Metro staff have not fully tapped the potential that the core on time. Schedule writers' jobs have been greatly fa- they see in its applications to market research, planning and cilitated by having access to running time data between route scheduling issues. One of the attributes characterizing transit time points. Dwell times at stops are also being examined in use in Madison is the seasonality in ridership patterns. In relation to passenger movements to identify instances where 2006, for example, July boardings were just 55% of the operators have to kill time to maintain the schedule. Overall, November totals. Such seasonal differences largely reflect the schedules have been fine-tuned to reflect actual operating travel activities of area university and college students and conditions represented in the AVL and APC data. Staff noted faculty. Staff would like to gain a better understanding of the that after the revision of schedules fewer complaints were travel patterns of this important segment of their market. being logged from customers and operators. Examination of APC boarding and alighting data by month Generally, Madison Metro has not been very heavily en- would provide insights into the stops and routes that are most gaged in comprehensive customer or population surveys. Its affected by this group's travel. Examination of the sequence last system rider census was completed in the 1990s, and it has of their card transactions, following the procedure developed recently hired a contractor to undertake a rider/non-rider by Rahbee and Czerwinski (2002), would also provide a perceptions survey. The survey work undertaken by staff has better understanding of their travel paths through the system. focused on specific customer groups or locations. Staff The insights gained from such analysis would allow staff to recently completed a Web-based survey targeting persons better adapt service levels and schedules to seasonal travel with disabilities to assess preferences for lifts versus ramps to demands. board vehicles. In areas where the agency is assessing oppor- There is also an interest among market research and plan- tunities for improving service, market research staff has used ning staff in making greater use of GIS in analyzing census

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65 data. Applications were identified in two contexts. First, staff in maximum service (VOMS), it ranks 70th overall in total are interested in developing customer profiles along corridors administrative employees. While an institution-level em- where service is already provided. Second, there is an interest ployment measure does not necessarily reflect IT and market in identifying the areas that are currently not served or under- research staff levels, it does highlight the challenges facing the served where the demographics suggest the existence of latent agency in integrating AVL, magnetic stripe card, and APC demand for transit. data for market research and planning. The transit ITS literature emphasizes the importance of man- agement support, particularly in the post-deployment period Performance Indicators where data archiving and development of analysis tools are Madison Metro's management meets monthly with the oftentimes starved for funding. Having been directly involved Parking and Transit Commission. A variety of fixed route in the statewide transit ITS procurement process, Madison operating performance indicators are reported to the commis- Metro's general manager showed a depth of insight and com- sion, covering service supplied and consumed (vehicle mitment that was uncharacteristic of his peers. He stressed that miles/hours; boardings/transfers), service quality (lift usage; the technologies represented a direct investment in customer vehicle/passenger accidents), customer service (complaints; satisfaction (by providing stop annunciation and vehicle arrival compliments; suggestions), and maintenance (road calls; vehi- information) and an indirect investment in developing new cle inspections). Detailed boarding statistics are also reported markets (by recovering data that would improve understand- by time period and by route, along with corresponding ing of existing customers and help in identifying and reaching productivity measures (boardings per revenue hour). Routes out to new customers). He suggested that the systems and the with boardings per revenue hour below 60% of the systemwide information they provided represent "the wave of the future" average are flagged for evaluation. for the transit industry, deserving more funding. Performance indicators also cover revenues (by source) and operating expenses. Associated productivity measures-- Market Research farebox recovery, passenger revenue per trip, and operating cost per revenue hour and passenger trip--are reported. The market research function at Madison Metro is not as Madison Metro has identified a dozen peer properties and fully developed as it is at CTA and TriMet. As is the case at compares its revenue and productivity indicators to the com- most smaller agencies, market research is not used in an on- posite peer averages. Data for peer properties are taken from going and strategic capacity; rather, it is used tactically, with the NTD. studies being implemented on an ad hoc basis when a need Presently, the performance indicators reported to the for specific information is identified. Although systematic commission do not draw on ITS data, with the exception of collection of market data is not present, staff is aware of the boardings, which are based on fare card and farebox data. Fare existence and benefits of ITS data and have been creative in policy discussions would be facilitated by regular reporting of applying such data in selected circumstances. An example of activity across alternative fare media. Properties with AVL sys- creative use of ITS data was the combination of traffic count tems are now commonly reporting on-time performance. This and passenger data at stops to represent advertising exposure. would likely be a useful performance indicator for Madison With the emergence of ITS data at Madison Metro, there is Metro, given the importance of timed transfers in its system. an opportunity to develop the agency's market research func- tion through analysis of customer data from fare cards and APCs, and service delivery data from AVL. To capitalize on Issues, Observations, the opportunity, the two marketing specialists currently ded- and Challenges icated to core activities could be supplemented by a market research analyst dedicated to drawing ITS data into Madison Management Metro's market research program. Madison Metro Transit is beginning to make full use of the benefits of leveraging market research with data from ITS ITS and IS technologies. Among the three case study properties, ITS technology deployment has occurred most recently at Madi- Madison Metro is transitioning from an environment in son Metro. Also, even after accounting for is relatively smaller which there was no consistent data collection to one where size, the level of staff resources available is more limited than ITS operating and passenger data streams pose several chal- those available at the other case study properties. For exam- lenges. The data support staffing that was embedded in the ple, data from the 2005 National Transit Database shows that market research and planning units at CTA and within the while Madison Metro ranks 52nd overall in vehicles operated scheduling and planning functions at TriMet, which proved

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66 important in their efforts to leverage ITS data, does not There were several observations on the technology deploy- presently exist at Madison Metro. The agency has been fortu- ment and procurement processes. First, it was necessary to nate in dealing with this limitation by virtue of the fact that re-geocode the stops in the system to achieve the accuracy re- its IS manager is a former service planner and operator who quired for AVL operation. Second, staff emphasized that it brings an understanding of market research and operations was important to obtain full documentation of the systems. practice that is not normally found in that position. Third, staff thought that the procurement and deployment While there is adequate IS staffing to manage ITS data, there processes would have been improved by collecting more in- is a need for additional staff to develop applications and cus- formation from other transit properties that had already gone tomized reports. The vendor-provided reporting software through the processes. (Ridecheck Plus) was not considered very useful without cus- tomization. Additional IS staff would also open up an oppor- tunity to tap the intellectual resources of the university through References internships, which has not been pursued to date because of the Furth, P.G., Hemily, B., Muller, T.H.J., and Strathman, J.G. TCRP limited time staff have to take on management of this activity. Report 113: Using Archived AVL-APC Data to Improve Transit Moreover, the University of Wisconsin administers a U.S. Performance and Management. Transportation Research Board of DOT-sponsored regional University Transportation Center the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2006. Kimpel, T.J., Strathman, J.G., Callas, S., Griffin, D., and Gerhart, R. L. (UTC) whose theme (optimization of transportation invest- Automatic Passenger Counter Evaluation: Implications for ment and operations) appears to be compatible with Madison National Transit Database Reporting. In Transportation Research Metro's need for developing new applications that leverage ITS Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 1835, data. University faculty and graduate students could poten- Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, tially be engaged in UTC-supported research or technology Washington, D.C., 2003, pp. 93100. Rahbee, A., and Czerwinski, D. Using Entry-Only Automatic Fare Col- transfer activities that would help to meet this need. lection Data to Estimate Rail Transit Passenger Flows at CTA. While the coordinated statewide ITS procurement program Proc., 2002 Transit Chicago Conference, Chicago, IL, 2002. eased the burden that each property faced in the process, the "one size fits all" approach meant that the systems acquired may not have been best suited to each property. Among the Madison Metro Staff Interviewed alternative fare payment technologies, smart cards were David Eveland, Coordinator, Information Systems dropped from consideration fairly early in the process, and Charles Kamp, General Manager there was a concern that the magnetic stripe card technology Julie Maryott-Walsh, Manager, Marketing and Customer Service selected represented a second best choice for Madison Metro. Sharon Persich, Manager, Service Planning and Scheduling