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162 Appendix 7: Marketing Document This is a short marketing document that can be given to managers at transit agencies and/or other DRT service providers. It briefly explains (1) what a DRT transactional data specification is and (2) the benefits of adopting it. As a manager, you may consider new techniques and technologies that will improve service for your riders while balancing the availability of financial resources and the time of your staff. You may also seek better ways to use the wealth of data available to monitor service and make decisions. A recent Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) study called Development of Transactional Data Specifications for Demand Responsive Transportation includes a good candidate for your consideration. This study presents a more standardized format for data in demand responsive transportation (DRT or paratransit), which has many potential benefits. To explain the overall idea, parallels can be drawn with recent developments in fixed route transit service. Numerous transit agenciesâboth large and smallâhave adopted a common format for their fixed route data, known as the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS). Since many transit agencies use GTFS, software developers see value in creating a range of applications (or âappsâ) for use on the web and via smartphonesâusually at no cost to the transit agencyâthat utilize this data and enable riders to easily plan transit trips. This TCRP project sets forth a similar specification for DRT data that includes the data needed by riders to plan a DRT trip, as well as all of the trip details needed to schedule and complete a DRT trip on the provider side. The widespread adoption of a common data specification for DRT service can provide your organization with a range of benefits, potentially including those in the following table. Benefit How? #1: Facilitate Data Sharing This can make data sharing easier among your organizations if other organizations also use the same data format. #2: Reduce Operating Costs Using a common data format could reduce costs related to the development and maintenance of DRT software. #3: Increase Flexibility in DRT Services The DRT industry is moving to more flexible operationsâsuch as offering same-day ridesâsimilar to Uber and Lyft. Common data formats can advance adoption of these technologies. #4: Increase Availability in Passenger Apps It is easier for software developers to create more smartphone apps for passengers using a common data specification, similar to GTFS for fixed route services. A New Specification for Demand Responsive Transportation Data
163 For more information, see the TCRP G-16 Report entitled âDevelopment of Transactional Data Specifications for Demand Responsive Transportationâ