Maryland Transit Customers to get Real-Time Information at Bus Stops

State-of-the-art global positioning technology drives new customer service initiative.

by / December 21, 2006
State transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan announced today that the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is installing a new state-of-the-art information system that will tell bus customers waiting at a bus stop when the next bus will arrive. The Next Vehicle Arrival technology (NVA) is the latest in transit passenger information systems and is now being installed at bus stops in the Baltimore region.

"Our goal has always been to improve customer service and make transit more convenient and user-friendly," said Flanagan. "A big frustration for bus customers is not knowing when the next bus will arrive at their stop. This system empowers them with accurate, real-time information that will answer that key question and allow them to better plan the rest of their trip."

The NVA system uses global positioning technology on each bus to calculate the location of the bus and the time it will arrive at its next stop. This information is then transmitted electronically to a variable electronic message sign located at the bus stop for all to see. The information is accurate to within a minute of when the bus will actually arrive. The global positioning system is linked to a centralized operations center in the MTA's bus control center. In addition to providing information to customers, the new technology also allows the MTA better control of bus operations, resulting in greater fleet efficiency and lower operating costs.

The MTA plans to install a total of 200 signs across the greater Baltimore area over the next year. The new signs are part of an $8.2 million investment that also includes the modernization of the existing Computer Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) system, new base radio station capabilities, equipment for MTA buses, operator consoles, and software maintenance and support services.