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38 CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY INTRODUCTION More than 90% of respondents indicated that their APC systems included a global positioning system element. This chapter summarizes findings and presents conclusions Almost half of all respondents reported that their APC from this synthesis project, and offers suggestions for future purchase was part of a broader intelligent transporta- study. Findings from the surveys, particularly the case stud- tion systems (ITS) project. ies, provide an assessment of factors contributing to the suc- Only a portion of most agencies' buses are APC- cess or failure of automatic passenger counter (APC) system equipped; however, more than one-quarter of respond- implementation. The chapter is organized in five sections: ing agencies have installed APCs on all buses. Nine of the 12 agencies that are 100% APC-equipped bought Automated Passenger Counting (APC) APCs as part of a broader ITS purchase. Implementation Most respondents reported a standard for acceptance APC data: Processing, Reporting, and Validating of the APCs at the 90% or 95% level of accuracy for Agency assessments of APCs passenger boardings and alightings, and almost three- Lessons learned quarters of respondents indicated that they use these Conclusions and areas of future study standards on an ongoing basis. Manual counts are typi- cally used as the basis of comparison. The further research needs offered here attempt to place Changes in professional staffing levels as a result of the study findings in a larger context of how APC use might APC implementation were minimal in most cases: evolve at transit agencies. More than 70% of all agencies reported no changes or decreases in staff levels. However, there were notable decreases in the size of traffic checking units. About AUTOMATIC PASSENGER COUNTER one-quarter of respondents indicated a minor increase IMPLEMENTATION (defined as one or two full-time positions) in main- tenance staff, and 22% reported a minor increase in The most common reason to collect ridership and travel professional staff. The case studies suggest that assign- time data is to compile ridership by route, although the ing analytical and maintenance staff specifically to majority of respondents also collect ridership and travel the APC program is an important factor in successful time data for more specific microlevel uses at the route implementations. segment or stop level. Tracking ridership changes, cal- The median reported capital cost per APC unit was culating performance measures, and adjusting sched- $6,638 among the 26 agencies responding. The median ules were the three most common uses of ridership and reported annual operating and maintenance cost per travel time data. APC unit was $600 among the 11 agencies respond- A majority of respondents use a combination of auto- ing. Cost data from the survey should be interpreted mated and manual methods to collect ridership data. cautiously, as respondents varied in their ability to The most common combinations involve APC plus break down cost data (especially for older systems manual data collection and farebox plus manual col- or for APC systems purchased as part of a larger ITS lection. In many cases, an older technology is retained procurement). to test the validity of the new technology or for a spe- cific purpose: for example, National Transit Database (NTD) reporting or data validation. AUTOMATIC PASSENGER COUNTER DATA: PROCESSING, VALIDATING, AND REPORTING Agencies that continue to collect ridership data manu- ally cite cost as a reason, followed by low priority for automated data collection at the agency. Smaller sys- Processing APC data often requires changes to exist- tems (fewer than 250 peak buses) are more likely to ing data systems, such as addition of GPS coordinates continue to rely on manual data collection. for stops and an updated or new bus stop inventory.