2016 Approved Budget Impact – Handi-Transit
Funding for an updated Handi-Transit Scheduling System was approved in the City’s 2016 budget. The current system (iRide) has been identified as needing replacement, as it was custom written in 2002.
Research has been undertaken by Handi-Transit over the past two years to determine what the department’s needs are and whether an in-house written program or an off-the shelf software program would be the best solution, The current system is challenged in its ability to accommodate and appropriately schedule trips for many clients who have specialized transportation needs. The research identified there are several companies that supply software to para-transit systems around North America that would provide a benefit to Winnipeg Transit.
Handi-Transit requires an updated system that can maintain basic and medical client information, schedule clients according to their specialized need, optimize available resources, communicate with drivers and clients in real-time, and allow for immediate scheduling or dispatching when hourly cancellations create an inefficient use of available resources. The department is currently estimating the new Handi-Transit Scheduling System to cost $1.4 to $1.5 million. The final amount will only be known once a request for proposal is issued.
The following is a list of improvements expected with the new system:
- Improved use of vehicle capacity given the increasing and varying needs of the clients. More complex definitions of the requirements of the clients such as who they must travel with and with what aids will be managed more efficiently with the new system.
- Increased accuracy of schedules through the use of more complex algorithms and address to address travel times rather than the zone to zone currently used.
- Real time communication with vehicles via electronic devices to allow for more dynamic scheduling. Currently, the lack of direct communication between the dispatching system and the vehicles causes inefficiencies when exceptions such as cancellations occur. A modern dispatching system should be able to make more efficient use of vehicle capacity.
- Improved communications with clients to improve efficiency of service. For example, the system can call or text a client 10 minutes before arrival so they can be ready when vehicle arrives.
- Web and IVR based trip requests will reduce the number of calls to contact center.
- Improved electronic client records to eliminate current practice of paper files.
It is anticipated that this new software system would be up and running in 2017/2018. A firm schedule will be established once proposal submissions have been reviewed and a contract has been awarded.
I will provide additional updates on this system, as it moves ahead. Please watch my website or sign up for an E-Newsletter.
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