APTA | Passenger Transport
May 25, 2009

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SPECIAL ISSUE: THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

IndyGo Unveils State-of-the-Art Radio Room

The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo) recently opened its state-of-the-art Radio Room, which integrates its fixed route and paratransit dispatch in a single facility along with high-tech operations. The remodeled facility brings together IndyGo’s new Computer Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) real-time Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system with an upgrade to its radio communications and hardware that ties into Indianapolis’ Metropolitan Emergency Communications Agency (MECA).

IndyGo employees staff the fixed route operation, while a private provider runs the paratransit system under contract. The agencies faced numerous challenges in co-locating two separate teams and radio systems, but now they report an improvement in cross-departmental communication.

“We were unsure how this combination of departments would be initially received and were pleasantly surprised to see an instant increase in communication,” said IndyGo Chief Operating Officer Trevor Ocock. “If one group received traffic alerts or detour information, they were passing it along to the other department’s dispatch team. This kind of communication will ultimately benefit our passengers.”

The agency reported better operational efficiencies resulting from the new technology.

Being able to track buses’ on-time performance, analyze passenger boardings, and inform riders with automated stop announcements should ultimately assist in route analysis and generate overall improvements for the passenger experience.

IndyGo expects to complete installation of the CAD/AVL hardware on all its buses by midsummer, with full operation of all new technology expected by fall.

The system upgrades were part of IndyGo’s technology plan, while the CAD/AVL project received funding through a federal grant.

Dealing with the Unexpected
While the improvements have rolled out in a convenient timeline, the process wasn’t exactly what IndyGo originally envisioned. Instead, the renovation of the Radio Room resulted from an emergency situation.

In May 2008, operations staff identified a mold substance beneath the subflooring of the 20-year-old Radio Room and Service Center; a mold remediation company came in within hours to evaluate the threat.

IndyGo ordered an emergency action plan to rule out airborne contamination of the operations workforce. In addition, four tornadoes that devastated part of the agency’s service area struck during the move of the radio room and equipment.

“In hindsight, the discovery of mold had a positive impact on our plans to upgrade our facility,” said Ocock. “It also presented a valuable exercise in emergency planning and communication. We were able to react quickly and didn’t lose any service in the process.”

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