What to look for in your next fleet management system
As your agency upgrades to a new fleet management & operations control system, you will need to decide what functions are most needed. Consider how future technologies and future passenger needs will play into this decision. Here are just three things to look for when procuring your next fleet management system:
1. State of Charge management for electric vehicles
As public transport providers move toward electric vehicle fleets, it has become critical for dispatchers to remain aware of the State of Charge on the vehicles. This is largely due to the reduced range of electric buses and the length of time it takes to charge them. A nextGen operations control system should include State of Charge information for dispatchers. Ideally, this tool should include:
· Complete integration into the fleet management system
· Information on the vehicle’s current charge level and remaining range
· Real-time alerts in the status display
· Color indicators to reflect the remaining charge level
· A forecast for reaching the end of the block
Additionally, that information should be transferrable to a charge management system or depot management system so the depot and maintenance staff are aware that the low charge vehicle is coming in. These are all functions that should be incorporated into your operations control system to ensure that you are managing your electric buses as efficiently and effectively as possible. INIT’s Intermodal Transport Control System, MOBILE-ITCS nextGen, provides all these features along with a comprehensive solution for managing electric fleets. Learn more about eMOBILE.
2. On-demand transport offerings
In order to provide on-demand services today, most agencies use a paratransit system with a subscription requirement. A future-proof nextGen operations control system should offer on-demand transportation to riders who are non-mobility challenged in order to provide convenient access to the transit system.
INIT’s MOBILE-ITCS nextGen allows agencies to provide on-demand stops that are not a part of the normal route, but are “off the beaten track” and can be activated by a passenger through a website or mobile app. The stop then gets added to the block, and the vehicle serves that stop and continues on its scheduled route. The driver can also activate their own on-demand stops if a passengers needs to be dropped off at a particular point.
On-demand transport allows the agency to provide flexible forms of service, including scheduled service on-demand or corridor route service. The first-mile/last-mile solution can be provided solely by the public transit agency, or the agency can coordinate services with other mobility modes such as bike or care share providers.
3. Precise passenger information
Finally, your nextGen operations control system should provide the most precise schedule information possible to passengers. MOBILE-ITCS nextGen accomplishes this through the use of artificial intelligence systems called Gradient Boosted Decision Trees (GBDT). GBDT is a type of machine learning algorithm used to refine and improve your on-time performance and predictions by up to 5-10%. The result: When a passenger is at a stop and their mobile app tells them a bus is 5 minutes out, that prediction will be exact down to the minute.
In a traditional system, the prognosis is calculated based on schedule information. As you can imagine, not all travel times will be 100% accurate. They are dependent on time of day, day of the week, construction, and other potential deterrents, etc. With MOBILE-ITCS nextGen, the process starts with the INIT statistics software, MOBILEstatistics.
It collects information from vehicles as they are out in the field and sends actual travel times to a database of historic travel times. So, the algorithm not only includes the scheduled times, but also actual historic travel times that occur on specific days and at specific times, resulting in much more accurate predictions. As time goes on and more information is collected by MOBILEstatistics, those algorithms become even more accurate. The benefits are continual improvement of the effectiveness of travel information and increased passenger satisfaction.
There are several things to consider when choosing your next fleet management system. Real-time State of Charge monitoring, on-demand services, and precise passenger information are just a few important features to look for. Other considerations, such as a database-independent system architecture design, personalized Graphical User Interface (GUI), and in-field dispatching capabilities should also be factored in. INIT’s MOBILE-ITCS nextGen addresses tomorrow’s needs and provides a flexible, robust solution for future operations. To learn more, Contact us for demo.
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