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Page 55
Suggested Citation:"GLOSSARY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Operational Experiences with Flexible Transit Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23364.
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Page 55
Page 56
Suggested Citation:"GLOSSARY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Operational Experiences with Flexible Transit Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23364.
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Page 56

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44 GLOSSARY ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)—1991 Act that contains provisions on the acquisition of accessible ve- hicles by public and private entities, requirements for complementary paratransit service by public entities op- erating a fixed-route system, and provision of nondis- criminatory accessible transportation service. AVL (automatic vehicle location)—Computer-based vehi- cle tracking based on location technology, such as the Global Positioning System. CDPD (cellular digital packet data)—Technology, using existing cellular telephone infrastructure, that detects idle air time and sends small packets during this idle time. CDPD users are charged on a per-packet basis, so they are not paying for time that is unused. Complementary paratransit—Specialized demand-respon- sive service provided for people who cannot use fixed- route transit or rail service owing to a disability, meet- ing specific comparability requirements as established by the ADA. The service is called “complementary” be- cause it complements fixed-route service; that is, it pro- vides additional service needed to make the entire sys- tem usable by people with disabilities. Curb-to-curb service—Demand-responsive service that picks up and delivers passengers at the curb or roadside nearest their origin or destination. Passenger assistance is not provided other than for actual boarding and alighting. Demand-responsive—Characteristic of transit service in which vehicles are routed according to passenger board- ing and alighting requests. Demand-responsive connector—Transit service where ve- hicles operate in demand-responsive mode within a zone, with one or more scheduled transfer points that connect with a fixed-route network. A high percentage of ridership consists of trips to or from the transfer points. Deviation—Vehicle movement that departs from a fixed route to respond to a passenger boarding or alighting request. Dial-a-ride—Form of demand-responsive public transpor- tation without fixed stops or fixed schedules, in which vehicle routing is determined entirely in response to passenger service requests made by telephone or similar means. Dispatching—Process of monitoring vehicle operations and issuing instructions to drivers by radio or similar means to make adjustments to a preplanned schedule. In a demand-responsive transit system, dispatching typi- cally includes changes to the schedule of pick-ups and drop-offs owing to no-shows, traffic delays, vehicle breakdowns, etc. In a system that permits short-notice trip requests, the processes of scheduling and dispatch- ing may merge. Door-to-door service—Demand-responsive service that picks up passengers at the door of their place of origin and delivers them to the door of their destination. The driver escorts or physically assists passengers between the vehicle and door of the origin or destination. Door- to-door service provides a higher level of assistance than curb-to-curb service. Sometimes the term is used loosely as a synonym for “demand-responsive service.” Fixed-route service—Conventional transit service in which buses operate along published routes according to a published timetable. Although the route or schedule may vary by time of day, it does not vary in response to requests from passengers. Stops may be only at desig- nated points or at flag stops. Flag stop—Location on an established rail line or fixed route that is not a station or marked bus stop, but at which vehicles will stop to board or discharge passen- gers on request. Flexible-route segment service—Transit service in which vehicles operate in conventional fixed-route, fixed- schedule mode, but switch to demand-responsive opera- tion for a limited portion of the route. Flexible transit services—Transit services that are not pure demand-responsive service (including dial-a-ride and ADA paratransit) or fixed-route service, but that fall somewhere in between these traditional service models. Flexible transit services have some established stop lo- cations and/or some established schedule, combined with some degree of demand-responsive operation. GPS (Global Positioning System)—Technology using sig- nals transmitted from a network of satellites in orbit to determine locations on earth. Headway—Length of time at a stop between buses follow- ing the same route. Short headways correspond to high- frequency service, whereas long headways correspond to low-frequency service. Human services agency—Government or not-for-profit or- ganization that provides services for essential needs such as medical care, income support, housing, educa- tion, training, and public health, typically for people re- quiring help because of age, disability, low income, or similar reasons. Human services transportation—Transportation provided by or on behalf of a human services agency to bring people participating in the agency’s programs or ser- vices to those programs or services. ITS (intelligent transportation systems)—Advanced tech- nologies applied to various aspects of transportation to enhance mobility, energy efficiency, and environmental protection. IVR (interactive voice response)—Software application that accepts a combination of voice telephone input and touch-tone keypad selection and provides appropriate

45 responses in the form of voice, fax, callback, e-mail, or other media. IVR is usually part of a larger application that includes database access. MDT (mobile data terminal)—Display unit, usually con- sisting of a screen and keys, which is used to communi- cate data between a dispatch office and the driver of a transit vehicle. Sometimes also refers to an integrated on-board device that combines an MDT with a vehicle logic unit and other devices such as GPS, a communica- tions interface, or smart card reader. Paratransit—Most commonly used to refer to specialized demand-responsive service provided for seniors and people with disabilities, especially ADA-comple- mentary paratransit. Historically the term has been used to refer to a variety of shared-ride transportation ser- vices other than conventional transit service, usually us- ing small vehicles. Personal rapid transit—Fixed-guideway transit using vehi- cles smaller than typical of a rail transit operation, with the capability of driverless, automated operation. As originally conceived, personal rapid transit would also include demand-responsive operation. Point deviation—Transit service in which vehicles serve demand-responsive requests within a zone and also serve a limited number of stops within the zone without any regular path between the stops. Productivity—Measure of the quantity of desired results produced per unit of resources applied. In transit, it is commonly measured using passenger trips per vehicle revenue hour or similar measures. Request stop service—Transit service in which vehicles oper- ate in conventional fixed-route, fixed-schedule mode and also serve a limited number of defined stops near the route in response to passenger requests. Request stops differ from flag stops in not being directly on the route. Route deviation—Transit service in which vehicles operate on a regular schedule along a well-defined path, with or without marked bus stops, and deviate to serve demand- responsive requests within a zone around the path. The width or extent of the zone may be precisely established or flexible. Scheduling—In a fixed-route service, the process of as- sembling vehicle runs to provide service according to a published timetable. In a demand-responsive service, the process of determining the path and schedule of ve- hicles in the system so that they serve the trips that have been requested. In a system that permits trips to be re- quested on short notice, the process of scheduling may be merged with dispatching. Slack time—Amount by which the time scheduled for a process exceeds the time required for its completion. In demand-responsive or flexible transit, slack time refers to time in a vehicle schedule that is available to sched- ule a deviation or an additional passenger stop without affecting the rest of the schedule. Standing order—See “Subscription.” Subscription—In demand-responsive transit systems, a reservation to receive service at a recurring time or times every week. Trip—May refer to a vehicle trip, which is a vehicle move- ment from one end of a route to another, or a passenger trip, which is a movement of passenger from origin to destination. Sometimes the term is also used to indicate unlinked passenger trips, which are passenger boardings on transit vehicles. VRH (vehicle revenue hour)—Span of time when a vehicle is available for carrying passengers, including layover and recovery time, but excluding deadhead time to and from a vehicle storage location or break location, or be- tween routes. Also called a vehicle service hour. Zone route service—Transit service in which vehicles op- erate in demand-responsive mode along a corridor with established departure and arrival times at one or more end points. Approximate times in zones within the cor- ridor may also be indicated. TRANSIT AGENCY ABBREVIATIONS AND SERVICE NAMES CAT—Capital Area Transit (Raleigh, North Carolina) COTPA—Central Oklahoma Transit and Parking Authority (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) FWTA—Fort Worth Transportation Authority GRTC—Greater Richmond Transit Company LTD—Lane Transit District (Eugene, Oregon) MTS—Metropolitan Transit System (San Diego, California) MVTA—Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (Burnsville, Minnesota) NCTPA—Napa County Transportation Planning Agency (Napa, California) OTA—Ottumwa Transit Authority (Ottumwa, Florida) PRTC—Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Com- mission (Woodbridge, Virginia) SCAT—Sarasota County Area Transit (Jacksonville, Florida) The T—FWTA Tri-Met—Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Portland, Oregon)

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 53: Operational Experiences with Flexible Transit Services examines transit agency experiences with “flexible transit services,” including all types of hybrid services that are not pure demand-responsive (including dial-a-ride and Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit) or fixed-route services, but that fall somewhere in between those traditional service models.

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