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Suggested Citation:"Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
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Page 89
Page 90
Suggested Citation:"Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
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Page 90
Page 91
Suggested Citation:"Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
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Page 91

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89 Automated passenger counter An electronic device available for installation on transit vehicles, including buses and rail vehicles, which accurately records boarding and alighting data. Automated vehicle location A means for automatically determining and transmitting the geographic location of a vehicle. The vehicle location data from one or more vehicles may be collected by a vehicle-tracking system to provide an overview of vehicle travel. Circulator service Within the context of microtransit, a service that focuses on providing trips on-demand within a designated zone with many origins and many destinations within the zone. Crowdsourcing A term whose definition is still evolving. For this report, the term means the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (the development of a bus route) and outsourcing it to an undefined group of people in the form of an open call in real time. Cutaway bus Often referred to as a minibus, this is a vehicle built with a bus body on top of a truck chassis such as those made by Ford or Chevrolet. They typically have a wheelchair lift and seat up to 20 passengers. Demand–responsive transit Transit that operates in response to calls or requests from riders. A reservationist or automated system receives the request and then dispatches a vehicle to pick up riders and take them to their destinations. These vehicles do not operate on a fixed route or fixed schedule and typically pick up several passengers at different locations before taking them to their respective destinations. Farebox recovery ratio The fraction of operating expenses that are met by the fares paid by passengers. Feeder service Local transit service that provides passengers with connections to main-line principal arterial service. First mile/last mile service The transportation necessary to allow people to access fixed route transit when the final destination is not within convenient walking distance (first mile) or to complete their trip once leaving a fixed route vehicle when the final destination is not within convenient walking distance (last mile). First mile/last mile zone A geographic area where general public demand–response transit emphasizes providing minibus feeder service to and from a regional bus line or rail station. Flex zone An area in which various forms of general public demand–response transit service might be provided in lieu of fixed route transit service. Frequency The number of times a bus will arrive at a bus stop in a given interval. For example, a bus running every 15 minutes would have a frequency of four buses an hour. Glossary

90 Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice General public demand–response transit service An advanced, user-oriented form of public transport characterized by flexible routing and scheduling of small or medium vehicles operating in shared-ride mode between pickup and drop-off locations according to passengers’ needs and the transit agency’s ability to provide. It is any nonfixed route service of transporting individuals that requires advance scheduling by the customer, including services provided by public enti- ties or others on behalf of public entities. Vehicles do not operate on a fixed schedule (except for a few time points) and typically pick up several passengers at different locations before taking them to their respective destinations. General transit feed specification or GTFS defines a common format for public transportation schedules and associated geographic information. GTFS “feeds” allow public transit agencies to publish their transit data and developers to use that data to write applications. The feeds are represented in a series of text files that are compressed into a ZIP file, and include information such as fixed-route schedules, routes, and bus stop data. GTFS datasets are used in a variety of types of applications, including trip planners such as Google Maps, mobile applications, timetable generation software, tools for transit planning and operations analysis, and other categories of applications. See also https://gtfs.org/. Global positioning system A global navigation satellite system that uses at least 24 satellites, a receiver, and algorithms to provide location, velocity, and time synchronization for air, sea, and land travel. Headway The time interval between buses at a given location. For example, a 60-minute head- way indicates that a bus will arrive at a particular stop on that line every 60 minutes. Interactive voice response A technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and tones input via a keypad. The technology allows the creation of an automated telephone system that interacts with callers, gathers information, and routes calls to the appropriate recipients. Listserv A method of communicating with a group of people via e-mail. One email message is sent to the reflector e-mail address, and the software sends the e-mail to all of the group’s subscribers. Microtransit Shared public or private sector transportation services that offer fixed or dynami- cally allocated routes and schedules in response to individual or aggregate consumer demand, using smaller vehicles and capitalizing on widespread mobile GPS and internet connectivity. Mobile data terminal This is usually a portable computer added to a vehicle to assist with information and data management at service delivery. The computer may be a laptop, tablet computer, or customized hardware. On-demand transit Transit service that responds quickly to rider demands. This type of service often requires riders to book their trip either in real time or in advance. Paratransit A type of transit service specifically designed for people with disabilities often provided in the form of demand–responsive transit. Platform A group of technologies that are used as a base upon which other applications, processes, or technologies are developed. Point deviation transit service Vehicles serve demand–responsive requests within a zone and also serve a limited number of fixed stops without any regular path between the stops. Route deviation transit service 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.

Glossary 91 Software as a service A software licensing and delivery model, in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted, sometimes referred to as “on-demand software.” Time point A public transit stop that a vehicle tries to reach at a scheduled time. These stops are in contrast to all other stops on a scheduled route for which the transit agency does not explicitly schedule an arrival or departure time. Transportation network company or TNC An organization that pairs passengers via websites and mobile apps with drivers who provide on-demand services. Transportation network companies are examples of the sharing economy and shared mobility. Voice over Internet Protocol A category of hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls by sending voice data in packets using an Internet Protocol address rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of the public switched telephone network.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 141: TCRP Synthesis 141: Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice provides an overview of the current state of the practice of transit systems that are directly providing general public demand–response or microtransit with their own vehicles and personnel or using a traditional contractor.

The report presents a literature review and results from a survey of 22 transit agencies that have had current experiences with microtransit. Case examples of five transit systems are provided. These case examples present in-depth analyses of the processes and considerations, challenges, lessons learned, and keys to success.

General public demand–response transit service is the chameleon of the public transportation world. The service can take many forms in different environments and can even change its form in the middle of its duty cycle. The service can be delivered through point deviation or route deviation methods, as a feeder to fixed route transit, or as a circulator within a community providing a many-to-many or many-to-few service, and can provide circulator and feeder services with the same vehicle.

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