Thursday, October 24, 2013

DART Should Copy UPS - ctd

Regular readers might remember my "blue sky" idea (adjective: fanciful, impractical, having dubious value) from 2012 that DART should be less like USPS and more like UPS:
UPS proves that the technology exists to compute a customized route every day for every vehicle, all based on which packages need to go where. Imagine a DART system somewhat like a taxi service or a shared ride service, where passengers submit their desired starting location and time and their desired destination. A central computer would take those thousands of requests, compute the most efficient route for the hundreds of buses in the system, and report back to the passenger when and where his bus will pick him up.
Source: The Wheel.
After the jump, "Great Minds Think Alike," Helsinki edition.

It turns out I wasn't alone in my thinking. In Finland, the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority actually implemented the same crazy idea I had. They call it Kutsuplus.
Through a smart phone app, a user can set a departure time just minutes in the future. The app issues a ticket after withdrawing money from the wallet, and draws a walking map to the departure stop. The heart of Kutsuplus is an algorithm that determines the most direct route for passengers' requested rides and groups together passengers going in the same general direction.
Source: TreeHugger.
We all know that the US Postal Service is having trouble surviving financially. And so is municipal bus service. But companies like UPS are thriving, in part because they reinvented package delivery. What UPS does for packages, now Kutsuplus does for people. Isn't it time for DART to rethink the decades-old business model its own bus service is built on?
Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see
Source: Irving Berlin.

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