Evaluating ITS Investments in Public Transportation: A Proposed Framework and Plan for the OmniLink Route Deviation Service
When implementing an intelligent transportation system (ITS), stakeholders often overlook the importance of evaluating the system once it is in place. Determining the extent to which the objectives of an investment have been met is important to not only the agency involved, but also to other agencies, so that lessons are learned and mistakes are not repeated in future projects. An effective evaluation allows a transit provider to identify and address areas that could use improvement. Agencies implementing ITS investments often have different goals, needs, and concerns that they hope their project will address and consequently the development of a generic evaluation plan is difficult to develop. While it is recognized that the U.S. Department of Transportation has developed guidelines to aid agencies in evaluating such investments, this research is intended to complement these guidelines by assisting in the evaluation of a site specific ITS investment. It presents an evaluation framework and plan that provides a systematic method for assessing the potential impacts associated with the project by defining objectives, measures, analysis recommendations, and data requirements. The framework developed specifically addresses the ITS investment on the OmniLink local route deviation bus service in Prince William County, Virginia, but could be used as a basis for the evaluation of similar ITS investments. The OmniLink ITS investment includes an automatic vehicle location (AVL) system, mobile data terminals (MDTs), and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) technology.