Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cool Virginia Technology Makes Mass Transit More Efficient

A division of Dulles-based Orbital Sciences Corporation has been awarded a $4.4 million contract by Intercity Transit of Olympia, Wash., to provide an Advanced Communications System to manage a fleet of 85 vehicles. The contract will provide a radio communications system that is fully integrated with Computer Aided Dispatch and Automated Vehicle Location capabilities.

With Orbital's ACS deployment, Intercity Transit expects to realize both reduced operating costs and improved service to its riders. Intercity Transit will collect and analyze data from actual operations and modify its schedules and travel times to improve on-time performance.

Orbital TMS is the country's leading supplier of satellite-based Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems for the expanding Intelligent Transportation Systems market. Orbital's AVL systems are used by 55 transit and state agency customers in the U.S. and internationally, with units installed, or scheduled to be installed, on approximately 26,000 buses and similar mass-transit vehicles.

What a novel idea -- making bus systems more efficient and responsive to consumers. Maybe we could use some of that state-of-the-art technology here in Virginia.... assuming, of course, that we can spare a few bucks from the state's multi-billion road and rail construction programs. Why Virginia's technology sector hasn't mobilized to push IT applications in transportation is beyond me.

More information about Orbital TMS can be found at http://www.tms-online.com/


At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a good friend who is a high-level executive at a huge tech company. I asked her why the tech industry doesn't try to solve some of the transportation problems and capture a new revenue stream to boot. The answer was: "We don't want to upset the large segment of the business community that wants to build more and wider roads." Go figure!

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Rental car companies and insurance companies are investigating or using satellite tracking for billing purposes. In Britain they use such a system for taxing Lorries.

What else is new?

Who cares where your bus is if it is stuck in traffic? After they analyze the situation with all this gee whiz satellite tracking, they can reprint the schedules with longer periodicity to improve their on time performance.


If you want to make the bus sytems more efficient and responsive to consumers, then make the busses smaller and more frequent. Use Jitneys for door to door service, or, I know, how about personal busses, we could call them autos.

The air trffic control system has pretty near perfect knowledge of where every vehicle is, they have three dimensional roads, and they still have congestion problems.

Technology is great, but it can't trump physics.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Steve Haner said...

Anonymous 8:38. Spread that before the next rainfall and your grass will get very green. No such person said any such thing, but that's the joy of blogging.

It is also possible the high tech companies are concentrating their marketing in the states that have money. As Jim pointed out, to do this in Virginia means the existing (already shrinking) state resources would need to be pulled off something else. In Virginia the rule is -- no blood comes from turnips.


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