Request foi Pioposal foi the Besign of a Real-Time Scheuule Infoimation

Communication System
1

.0 Introduction!
Public meuia anu piivate foiums aie almost unanimous in that one of the biggest pioblems
facing the TTC is its lack of ieliable scheuuling infoimation available to its pations |1,2]. In fact, a
TTC Key Peifoimance Neasuies Review (Febiuaiy 2uuS) iepoit concluueu that "unieliable
scheuules aie one of the main ueteiients to using tiansit" |S]. Riueis wish to know when the next
vehicle will aiiive, oi when theie will be a majoi uelay |1,2]. Accoiuing to TTC chaii Bowaiu
Noscoe, "people uon't minu waiting foi a bus if they know how long they have to wait" |4]. This
RFP pioposes the cieation of a system that auuiesses the neeu foi the communication of accuiate
anu up-to-uate scheuule infoimation to TTC pations.
2.0 Previous!Technologies!
2.1 Information!Gathering!
Piioi to Febiuaiy 17
th
of 2uu8, the TTC ielieu on technology known as "Communications
anu Infoimation Systems" (CIS). Besigneu in the late 197us, this system was nevei fully
implementeu until the late 199us. This alloweu a cential polling station to maintain a link to anu,
moie impoitantly, to tiack the movement of TTC giounu level vehicles with the aiu of ultia-high
fiequency iauio wave tiansmitteis, situateu in stiategic locations thioughout Toionto. The cential
system polleu each vehicle eveiy 2us, whose CIS unit then ietuineu the geogiaphic uata of the
vehicle to a iesolution of 1 to 2 city blocks. While this pioviueu a geneial oveiview of the vehicle's
location, the infoimation was not ieliable enough to piouuce a ieal-time tiansit scheuule.
Two majoi uesign flaws that ienueieu CIS incapable of pioviuing accuiate anu ieliable uata
incluueu "black hole" iegions in the system, anu lack of passage time infoimation. Fiistly, the
system hau been uesigneu such that, upon enteiing paiticulai locations, known as "black hole"
iegions, the vehicles seemeu to "uisappeai", then "ieappeai" elsewheie at a latei point in time. As
tiansit auvocate Steve Nunio eluciuates, "on the east enu of the 0ueen ioute... vehicles uisappeai
eastbounu at Wineva... anu uon't appeai until they leave Neville Loop westbounu" |S]. This flaw
pieventeu the system fiom being able to pioviue accuiate vehicle location infoimation.
Seconuly, because CIS coulu only communicate geogiaphic uata, theie was essentially no
way of asceitaining "whethei the time between iepoiteu locations was occupieu with loauing
passengeis oi |while] sitting in tiaffic" |S]. Consequently, the system pioviueu no ieal way of
ueteimining when a vehicle may aiiive at a stop.
As TTC senioi managei Bob Bient illuminates, the CIS system was "millions of uollais anu
yeais ovei buuget anu nevei ueliveieu as piomiseu" |6]. Its uesign flaws ienueieu accuiate vehicle
onitoiing extiemely uifficult, anu hence, the publishing of an accuiate anu ieal-time scheuule
iactically impossible.
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2.2 Information!Dissemination!
Befoie Ianuaiy 1
st
of 2uuu, TTC pations ielieu on TimeLine, a netwoik of uatabases
containing infoimation iegaiuing bus anu stieet cai scheuule infoimation. A unique telephone
umbei n was posteu at each stop, anu when uialeu, a pieiecoiueu voice notifieu the callei of the
estimateu aiiival time of the next vehicle, baseu on pieueteimineu scheuules |7].
Although this at fiist pioveu an effective methou of communication, by 1999 the system was
iunning on "obsolete technology that was liteially falling apait, with fiequent outages anu
incieasingly expensive seivice calls." Fuitheimoie, the system suffeieu fiom a bug that pieventeu
it fiom woiking into the new millennium. The cost of iepaiiing it was estimateu at $2 million, anu
the system was uismantleu |6]. In its place, the TTC website was launcheu. Cuiiently, iiueis iely
on the availability of scheuules posteu at stops anu on the TTC website÷both of which aie still
baseu on times calculateu using CIS.
3.0 Current!Technologies!
3.1 Information!Gathering!
ulobal Positioning System (uPS) is a technology that was uevelopeu by the 0niteu States
Bepaitment of Befense. The system ielies on a "constellation" of at least 24 meuium eaith oibit
satellites such that at least six aie oveiheau at any given moment. At a ceitain pieueteimineu time,
these satellites all begin senuing out continuous signals of "pseuuo-ianuom coue" |8] outwaius
iauially in the shape of a spheie. 0n Eaith, a uPS ieceivei begins to iun thiough the same pattein
almost simultaneously, anu calculates the offset between the signals ieceiveu fiom the satellites
anu its own pattein in oiuei to ueteimine the uistance between them anu itself. 0nce it has
acquiieu at least thiee unique signals, it is then able to ueteimine wheie the iauio signal spheies
inteisec anu t. This iesults in two points: one on Eaith (which the ieceivei iepoits as its location)
the othei uiiectly above it in space (which it uiscaius).
This system allows foi a iesolution of up to 1um. In oiuei to obtain gieatei accuiacy,
Biffeien The

tial uPS (BuPS) employs an auuitional stationaiy ieceivei, placeu at a neaiby location.
auuitional position calculateu by this ieceivei can inciease the accuiacy to within less than 1m.
The uPS ieceivei also measuies the change in fiequency of the inuiviuual iauio signals
etween polling epochs. This occuis uue to the Bopplei Effect, anu allows the ieceivei to
eteimine not only location, but speeu anu uiiection as well |9].
b
u

3.2 Information!Dissemination!
The TTC cuiiently employs BuPS technology to pioviue "next-stop" infoimation foi iiueis.
This system ielies on geocoueu stops, wheiein stops' cooiuinates have been stoieu in computei-
ieauable foim foi iespective ioutes. As of Becembei 6
th

of 2uu7, 11,2u2 bus stops anu 1,S47
stieetcai stops have been geocoueu, anu the iest aie scheuuleu to be completeu by Febiuaiy 2uu8
|1u]. Buses anu stieetcais ieceive infoimation fiom the system as to which location the vehicle is
enteiing.
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Befoie the auvent of uPS, it was not possible to publish a ieal-time scheuule because of the
inaccuiacy of CIS. Now, howevei, while uPS allows foi uynamic anu ieal-time ueteimination of
vehicle locations anu velocities, its full potential has yet to be exploiteu. The infoimation available
uue to uPS technology has the potential to gieatly inciease the ability of the TTC to meet its
pations' neeus anu uesiies.
4

.0! User!Needs!
The main goal of public tiansit systems is to give commuteis a ieliable alteinative methou
of tianspoitation. If the tiansit system uoes not ielay accuiate infoimation about its wait times, the
ieliability of the system is significantly ieuuceu.
The winnei of the 2uuS Tianspoitation Association of Canaua's Sustainable 0iban
Tianspoitation Awaiu was Yoik Region Tiansit's viva bus iapiu tiansit netwoik. viva's success is
paitly attiibuteu to its ability to ielay ieal-time infoimation ".to show passengeis when the next
vehicles aie uue to aiiive," |11] anu it inuicates that tiansit iiueis have come to expect anu uesiie
accuiate anu up-to-uate scheuule infoimation.
Fuitheimoie, TTC pations have expiesseu the uesiie foi auvanceu notifications in the event
of a piolongeu uelay |12]. In the event that a pation uoes not ieceive piioi notification of such a
uelay anu has alieauy paiu faie, they may choose to wait foi the uelay to be iesolveu, oi they may
seek out alteinative means of tianspoitation. Iiiespective of theii uecision, the lack of piioi
notification iesults in eithei a waste of time oi money.
5

.0! Requirements!
A pilot pioject woulu neeu to test the system's efficacy on both a stieetcai anu bus ioute.
An iueal location foi a stieetcai pilot pioject woulu be the Su1 0ueen Stieetcai, as "uelays of 2u to
4u minutes aie commonplace to iiueis" |1S]. The selecteu bus ioute is 29 Buffeiin, as it too suffeis
scheuules |14]. fiom unieliable

5.1! Goals!
An effective solution to this pioblem must accomplish the following:
" oute scheuules. As mentioneu Relay accuiate infoimation to TTC pations iegaiuing i
"
above, this is the main usei neeu that must be satisfieu.
Infoim TTC pations in the event of a piolongeu uelay.
" s
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Pioviue suggestions foi alteinate ioutes in the event of a piolongeu uelay. Thi
enhances pations' ability to use the TTC as a ieliable tiansit option.
" Incluue means of communicating scheuule infoimation at eveiy stop location.
" Be able to pioviue scheuule infoimation on uemanu, anu not necessaiily only at stop
locations. This allows pations to access scheuule infoimation conveniently, anu plan
theii tiips accoiuingly.
" Communicate scheuule infoimation thiough a vaiiety of meuia such that it may be as
accessible as possible, in oiuei to inciease pation convenience.

!5.2! Constraints!
While meeting the uesign objectives, the pioposeu solution may not violate the following
constiaints:
" The pioposeu solution must be auaptable foi bus as well as stieetcai tianspoitation.
The pioposeu solution must make infoimation available at all stop locations.
" The tiansit scheuule must be upuateu at inteivals less than oi equal to 2us÷the amount
in
"
of time between polls with CIS. This fiequency ensuies that the infoimation available
the tiansit scheuule is within ieasonable accuiacy.
" in The iepoiteu times of vehicle aiiival must be accuiate to within 2us. Any inciease
accuiacy woulu be offset by the eiioi in the minimal polling time.
" The cost of both pilot piojects may not exceeu $7u,uuu
1
, although lowei costs aie
piefeiieu.

!5.3! Criteria!
Any such system woulu be evaluateu accoiuing to the following ciiteiia:
" Inciease¡Beciease in oveiall iiueiship uemogiaphics, as a peicentage of the iiueiship
befoie implementation, wheie highei values aie bettei. If theie is a iise in iiueiship
, soon aftei the system has been implementeu that is not attiibutable to any othei factois
then the system is effective.
" Accuiacy of the ielayeu scheuule infoimation, expiesseu as the uiffeience between the
iepoiteu anu ieal time of aiiival, in seconus, wheie lowei values aie bettei. If the
methou of uissemination iesults in accuiacy on the same oiuei of magnituue as that of
the infoimation pioviueu by BuPS, the system is effective.
" Efficiency of the suggesteu alteinate ioutes, expiesseu as a iatio of the time iequiieu foi
the pioposeu ioute to that iequiieu foi the oiiginal, wheie lowei is bettei. If in the
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1
!Startup!costs!for!a!real!time!schedule!database!are!estimated!at!$10,000.!!The!Queen!streetcar!
has!60!stops!along!its!route,!and!the!Dufferin!bus!has!32![15].!!With!an!estimated!cost!of!$500!per!
communication!system!at!each!stop!location,!this!translates!to!approximately!$46,000.!!Finally,!
alternative!on"demand!communication!means!are!estimated!at!$10,000.!!Thus,!the!cost!of!a!pilot!
project!for!both!the!Queen!streetcar!and!Dufferin!bus!may!not!exceed!$70,000.!
!
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event of a piolongeu uelay, the pioposeu ioute takes less time than it woulu to wait f
the next vehicle, the system is effective.
" Ease of access to the infoimation, expiesseu as the numbei of uiffeient meuiums by
oi
which the infoimation is being uisseminateu, wheie highei is bettei. If the infoimation
is highly accessible to TTC pations, the system is effective.
" Response time foi communicating scheuule infoimation on uemanu, in seconus, wheie
lowei is bettei.





















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References:!
[1]! CityNews.ca!Staff,!“Passengers!Fed!Up!with!TTC!Disruptions,”![Online!Article]!May!2006,!
[2008!Feb.!12],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://origin1.citynews.ca/news/news_783.aspx!
[2]! Steve!Munro,!“Where’s!My!Street!Car!(Updated)?”![Online!Blog]!Nov.!2007,![2008!Feb.!
12],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://stevemunro.ca/?p=636!!
[3]! Toronto!Transit!Commission,!“Commission!Report!Macro:!Surface!Transportation!Route!
Management!and!Key!Performance!Measures,”![Online!Document]!June!2005,![2008!
Feb.!12],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://www.ttc.ca/postings/gso"
comrpt/documents/report/f2442/_conv.htm!!
[4]! Matthew!Blackett,!“E"signs!to!let!Riders!know!when!the!next!bus!is!coming?”![Online!
Magazine/Blog]!Oct.!2006,![2008!Feb.!15],!Available!at!HTTP:!
http://spacing.ca/wire/?m=200610&paged=2!!
[5]! Steve!Munro,!“Analysis!of!Transit!Operations:!Managing!CIS!Data,”![Online!Blog]!July!
2007,![2008!Feb.!15],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://stevemunro.ca/?p=446!
[6]! Spacing,!“A!little!history!of!the!TTC’s!Timeline!service,”![Online!Magazine/Blog]!Jan.!
2007,![2008!Feb.!15],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://spacing.ca/wire/?p=1475!
[7]! Toronto!Transit!Commission,!“Expanding!TTC’s!information!offerings,”![Online!Article]!
2000,![2008!Feb.!15],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://www.ecf.toronto.edu/~writing/bbieee"
help.html#intro"pe!!
[8]! Marshall!Brain!and!Tom!Harris,!“How!GPS!Receivers!Work,”![Online!Article]!Sept.!2006,!
[2008!Feb.!16],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gps3.htm!!
[9]! National!Air!and!Space!Museum,!“How!Does!GPS!Work?”[Online!Article]![2008!Feb.!16],!
Available!at!HTTP:!http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/gps/work.html!!
[10]! Barry!Hertz,!“TTC!pair!tell!riders!where!to!get!off,”![Online!Article]!Dec.!2007,![2008!Feb.!
15],!Available!at!HTTP:!
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2007/12/06/ttc"pair"tell"
riders"where"to"get"off.aspx!!
[11]! Transport!Canada,!“TAC’s!2005!Sustainable!Urban!Transportation!Award!nominees,”!
[Online!Article]!July!2007,![2008!Feb.!16],!Available!at!HTTP:!
http://www.tc.gc.ca/Programs/Environment/utsp/TACNominees2005.htm!!
[12]! Steve!Munro,!“Bathurst!511!Diverts!to!Union!Station,”![Online!Blog]!April!2007,![2008!
Feb.!16],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://stevemunro.ca/?p=375!!
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[13]! Steve!Munro,!“Fix!the!501!Queen!Streetcar!Forum!(Updated),”![Online!Blog]!Dec.!2007,!
[2008!Feb.!16],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://stevemunro.ca/?p=708!!
[14]! Steve!Munro,!“Analysis!of!Route!29!Dufferin!–!Part!I:!(Introduction),”![Online!Blog]!Dec.!
2007,![2008!Feb.!16],!Available!at!HTTP:!http://stevemunro.ca/?p=726#more"726!!
[15]! Toronto!Transit!Commission,!“The!Toronto!Transit!Commission!Route!Schedules,”!
[Online!Database]!2007,![2008!Feb.!16],!Available!at!HTTP:!
http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/schedules/index.htm!!
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