Thursday, September 30th, 2010
Historic Breakthrough for Shared Transport at ACT 2010
Critical mass of riders using VPSI/Avego service provides first proof of real-time ridesharing in a real-world environment.
While Avego Shared Transport and other forms of real-time ridesharing technology have existed for years (with some experiments in this concept dating back to the 1980s and 1990s), this month's ACT 2010 conference in Palm Springs, CA provided the first case of a critical mass of real-time ridesharing, as well as the largest-ever real-time ridesharing event.
"There was a miracle in the desert," said Sean O'Sullivan, MD of Avego. "From a standing start, with no attendees ever having taken Shared Transport, to three days later, with hundreds of riders having used real-time ridesharing for the first time, we've proven that, under the right circumstances, Shared Transport is a new reality. It's the dawn of a new era, a new mode of transportation."
Over the course of the event, attendees took 27, 97 and 187 Shared Transport trips on the three successive nights of the conference, showing a remarkable daily growth and usage rate. Over the entire conference, VPSI/Avego delivered over 529 trips for the 270 attendees, and a remarkable 43% modal shift in airport journeys alone.
Avego estimates cost savings of $8700 on airport pick-ups/drop-offs, $2790 on the nightly shuttle service, and an average cost savings per attendee of $43.68. Environmental savings work out to a VMT reduction of 7488 miles, and CO2 savings of 4.118 tons.
The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) 2010 International Conference was focused on promoting sustainable “green” options for commuters, including public transit, carpools, vanpools, cycling, and walking.
The event took place in Indian Wells, California, a location noted for its many fine restaurants, shopping centers, golf courses and health spas. Unfortunately, the area’s transit options are limited, making it hard to reach local attractions without using a car.
The solution was a two-pronged effort from VPSI and Avego: a nightly Shared Transport service along the main transport corridor, and a complimentary vanpooling service.
VPSI Vice President–Product Integration Ken Sieloff said, "Vanpools are an incredibly efficient, safe, economical and enjoyable way to travel. We're delighted to have provided this complimentary shuttle service to ACT 2010 conference attendees.”
The Shared Transport service allowed passengers to book a ride with the ACT2010 iPhone app, or with any mobile phone. iPhone users simply downloaded the app from the iTunes store, selected a destination along the shuttle route, and tapped “Pick me up.” Mobile phone users would text a code with their stop number to 41411. Once a ride was booked, passengers received real-time status updates via SMS leading up to their pick-up.
Caryn Souza, ACT Executive Director, summed up the service, “ACT is constantly looking for ways to foster innovation in transportation. VPSI and Avego have combined their assets and technology to create a convenient, easy-to-use nightly shuttle service that our conference attendees greatly enjoyed.”
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Kristian Amlie is a Man on a Mission
Dedicated Shared Transport user committed to bringing real-time ridesharing to his home-town
Change Agent. Early Adopter. Ridesharing Evangelist. Call him what you will, but one thing is certain: Kristian Amlie is determined to bring an Avego Shared Transport pilot to the people of Bergen, Norway.
In a recent presentation to mobility councilors of the City of Bergen and the Bergen Chamber of Commerce, Kristian described the features and benefits of Avego Shared Transport with a slide presentation and video demonstration he created himself.
He said, “I believe Bergen is a great place to start using a ridesharing app like Avego Shared Transport. The local road authorities have had a research and development project about ridesharing since 2007, and a group of nine businesses have teamed up for collaboration.”
Kristian has personally given 39 rides, saving 197 vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) using Shared Transport, so he’s quite familiar with the application’s real-time ridesharing capabilities.
He went on to say, “In Norway the use of the iPhone is among the highest per capita in the world. I tried to make real-time ridesharing tangible today, showing a video of me demonstrating Avego Shared Transport in my own car."
Kristian’s video, which is available on YouTube (Norwegian, no subtitles), shows him using Shared Transport in his Norwegian-made Electric Urban Vehicle.
If you have any personal experiences with Avego Shared Transport that you’d like to share, tell us your story in an email to email@example.com.
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“Where is my bus, and when will it arrive?"
Two common questions Avego Futurefleet helps to answer
One of the many challenges facing bus operators today is the number of inbound telephone calls to customer service representatives asking, "where is my bus?" and "when is the next bus going to arrive?"
While bus operators make every effort to ensure their buses adhere to published schedules, there are many factors that can lead to poor schedule adherence. These include traffic, accidents, detours, weather and breakdowns, to name just a few.
Poor schedule adherence often leads to “bunching,” when buses arrive at the same stop at the same time, or one bus passes another. When the even spacing of buses is disrupted in this way, the result is often long wait-times for passengers, and (you guessed it) a call to customer service asking, "where is my bus?" and "when is the next bus going to arrive?""
Avego Futurefleet helps bus operators maintain schedule adherence and communicate real-time passenger information (RTPI) to customers, leading to more on-time buses, and fewer calls to customer service. In fact, Avego customers have reported significant improvements in schedule adherence within days of installing Futurefleet.
With the Futurefleet mobile data terminal (MDT) or miniMDT installed in buses, transport operators can access powerful GPS-enabled real-time capabilities. Futurefleet MDTs accurately sense and report the movements of each bus, allowing them to provide drivers with location-based schedule adherence notifications as they drive. Drivers see a red light on the MDT if they’re driving too fast, alerting them to slow down if they’re ahead of schedule. These notifications reduce bus bunching, and improve the predictability of services for passengers.
This same technology also allows operators to communicate real-time departure and arrival times to passengers, based on the live movements of Futurefleet-enabled buses. Passengers can access this information via email, SMS, a website, or from departure boards located in stations and at bus stops.
As more bus operators adopt Futurefleet to manage their fleets and communicate with passengers in real time, those two familiar questions may become a thing of the past.
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