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Automated Vehicle Location System

 What is Automated Vehicle Location? 

Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) is a computer-based, vehicle tracking, system which provides the actual real-time position of buses and other transit fleet vehicles by relaying information to a dispatch center. Simple AVL systems typically include computer aided dispatch software, mobile data terminals, emergency alarms, and digital communications. Additional services available through the use of AVL may be real-time passenger information, passenger counters, automated fare payment systems, automatic stop annunciation, automated destination signs, vehicle component monitoring, and traffic signal priority.

 What are the Benefits of AVL

In general, AVL systems can aid transit agencies in their efforts to maximize fleet utilization as well as keep fuel, labor, and capital costs at a minimum. With real-time data (i.e. predictions of bus arrivals) and more efficient fleet usage, customer service and satisfaction increase, thereby creating secondary user benefits.

Additional applications of AVL systems such as real-time passenger information and automatic passenger counters enable transit agencies to analyze performance for not only the current operating period but historical periods as well.

 StarTran AVL Implementation 

The City of Lincoln, Nebraska's StarTran, as a fixed route and demand-responsive transit provider, wishes to improve the operational efficiency and security of its transit system. These desires can be summarized in three main goals:

StarTran is tasked with providing these improvements while minimizing additional expenditures or personnel. The existing system, because of the inherently manual nature of its data sharing, precludes the ability to increase system efficiency without the application of additional resources.

Like many other transit system operators, StarTran has identified AVL technology deployment as a method to accomplish these goals. Specifically, the appropriate implementation of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technology to improve data accuracy and reduce communication delays offers the potential to meet these three main goals without additional personnel resources, and with minimal, if any, increase in recurring operational costs. Further, the City of Lincoln desires that any StarTran AVL system provide future expandability and interoperability capabilities for other City of Lincoln (or even State of Nebraska) fleets, as well as neighboring transit providers. StarTran, along with the City of Lincoln and a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), has undertaken the process to design an open AVL system.

 For More Information 

Mixon Hill   City of Lincoln
Mixon Hill
Brenda Boyce
Consultant Project Manager
City of Lincoln
Glenn Knust
City of Lincoln Project Manager