Research Archive

Integrated Dynamic Transit Operations (IDTO)

Integrated Dynamic Transit Operations are the next generation of applications that transform transit mobility, operations, and services through the availability of real-time traveler information new data sources and communications, and tools to assist travelers and agencies.

Research Plan

Integrated Dynamic Transit Operations (IDTO) will enable transit systems to provide better information to travelers and increase the quality of service. Improvements in the transit experience are expected to lead to increases in the use of public transit, improve the environment and increase mobility.

In selecting the IDTO applications, the US DOT sought opportunities for transformative applications that could significantly alter existing transit services and access to traveler information. These applications would result in substantial mobility improvements; are achievable in the near-term; and leverage the connected transportation environment data. While these applications exist at some level in today's world, the systems and communications upon which they rely can be fragmented, leading to insufficient transfer protections, untimely information, and inconvenience for travelers. Further, some of the applications are operated by public sector agencies and some by private sector providers who may be unaffiliated and frequently employ communications and technology systems that are not integrated. The IDTO applications look to resolve these gaps and evolve the current state to offer transformative impacts while minimizing risks.

The US DOT defines the IDTO bundle as the following three applications:

  • T-DISP: T-DISP seeks to expand transportation options by leveraging available services from multiple modes of transportation. Travelers would be able to request a trip via a handheld mobile device (or phone or personal computer) and have itineraries containing multiple transportation services (public transportation modes, private transportation services, shared-ride, walking and biking) sent to them via the same hand- held device. T-DISP builds on existing technology systems such as computer-aided dispatch/automatic vehicle location (CAD/AVL) systems and automated scheduling software. These systems will have to be expanded to incorporate business and organizational structures that aim to better coordinate transportation services in a region. A physical or virtual central system, such as a travel management coordination center (TMCC) would dynamically schedule and dispatch trips. T-DISP enhances communications with travelers and presents them with the broadest range of travel options when making a trip.
  • T-CONNECT: The goal of T-CONNECT is to improve rider satisfaction and reduce expected trip time for multimodal travelers by increasing the probability of intermodal or intra-modal connections. T-CONNECT will seek to protect transfers between both transit (e.g., bus, subway, and commuter rail) and non-transit (e.g., shared ride) modes, and will facilitate coordination between multiple agencies to accomplish the tasks. In certain situations, integration with other IDTO bundle applications (T-DISP and D-RIDE) may be required to coordinate connections between transit and non-transit modes, and between public and private transportation providers
  • D-RIDE: The Dynamic Ridesharing (D-RIDE) application is an approach to carpooling in which drivers and riders arrange trips within a relatively short time in advance of departure. Through D-RIDE, a person could arrange daily transportation to reach a variety of destinations, including those that are not serviced by transit. D-RIDE serves as a complement subsystem within the IDTO bundle by providing an alternative to transit when it is not a feasible mode of transport or is unavailable within a certain geographic area. The D-RIDE system would usually be used on a one-time, trip-by-trip basis, and would provide drivers and riders with the flexibility of making real-time transportation decisions. The two main goals of the D-RIDE application are to increase the use of non-transit ride-sharing options including carpooling and vanpooling, and to improve the accuracy of vehicle capacity detection for occupancy enforcement and revenue collection on managed lanes. As a result of accomplishing these two goals, a myriad of other benefits could exist that benefit transit systems, including that D-RIDE could help reduce peak demand for public transit so the public transit system can be designed more affordably and can have greater customer satisfaction during spikes in ridership.