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Tactical Trip Alternatives to Transit

a way to detect if busses are full and quickly scan acceptable, alternative travel strategies to reach your destination

Photo of Nahom Beyene
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" solutions that make it simple for travelers to understand their transportation options and how to use them."

The tactical trips solution is a means to capture the last data point on whether or not a rider at a bus stop is able to get onboard....are we full yet?!! Current solutions through a multitude of bus arrival and trip planning apps do not inform how full the bus is, which is a critical measure of rider comfort or access during peak times of operation.

The concept is to capture metrics of how full the bus is by activating a computer vision routine on the bus camera system after the fare box registers a certain number of riders onboard. The combined logic is then used to resolve three states of bus occupancy levels (i.e. light, standing only, full). A bus driver may also voluntarily log these states through a simple, push-button interface. With this added data value to bus real-time arrival information, there is an opportunity for riders to consider whether or not the bus mode of travel is suitable for their needs OR to get advanced notice of times when they may be at an involuntary risk of not being able to board one or more bus at this time.

A companion app can serve as a journal to capture how people tactically decided what their next course of action should be through the use of alternative modes of transportation. Bike? Walk? Rideshare/TNC? Taxi? ZipCar? Turo? capturing narratives from a community of travelers, people will be able to see a spectrum of alternatives to bus use with guidance on what implications to consider (i.e. cost, space/amenities, speed of arrival, eligibility for use/operation, etc.). As alternative travel modes are explored, people can consider the benefits of using these travel alternatives in other scenarios with greater confidence and comfort....all initiated by the one time the bus was full and drove right past them at a bus stop. 

Routine bus users know that there are times when a bus driver does not see them and drives by with multiple seats open, this is another scenario where the tactical trips journal can log on the fly decisions on how to keep moving towards a destination.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

At the bus stop: a prospective rider that is passed up when a bus is full or the driver does not recognize their presence at the bus stop At home/Pt. A: a prospective rider that is notified about the risk of buses riding full and introducing a risk of not being able to board On the bus: a driver can independently log that their bus is officially empty, filling up, or full

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Navity is a startup company still seeking to build a team. The founder is a designer of technologies to capture and sense on-road interventions by driving instructors from drivers ed and driver rehabilitation programs. Relationships are in place to partner with local software development firms (i.e. NuRelm and True Fit) in order to prototype the Tactical Trips Journal App, computer vision control logic, and back end for a driver's dashboard for voluntary logging of bus occupancy levels.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

The tactical trips app would be piloted in collaboration with the Oakland Transportation Management Association or other TMAs to capture the impacts to riders who travel from or into their area of operations. This would support a quantified analysis of traveler needs and challenges faced with respect to multi-modal transportation use and rider preferences. Revenue models will consider advertising from complementary travel options (taxis, rideshare/TNCs, bike share, and car share). The app may also accept tips for service as a virtual travel agency to assist standard commuter trips and community travel.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

There are three branches for the measures of success under an assumption that all benefits hinge upon the wide-scale adoption of the service. 1. interoperability of data - app development companies for bus arrival and trip planning will be surveyed for their requirements to integrate a "bus fullness" field for bus occupancy level states (e.g. light, standing only, full) 2. advanced notification of Full buses - users will be surveyed to learn if enough advanced notice was received for them to avoid the negative consequences of being left behind at a bus stop 3. on demand travel agent for multi-modal travel - users will be surveyed to learn if enough information is available in short amounts of time to adopt alternative modes of travel


Join the conversation:

Photo of Diana Avart

Hi Naham,

Glad you were able to publish your submission before the deadline! As someone who takes the best to/from work, there is nothing more frustrating than getting passed up since the bus is too full. The data from your project would also be helpful in identifying when additional buses need to be run for that route, especially if they are regularly over capacity around the same time each day.

- Diana, Facilitator

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