Mobile Applications

DemandTrans develops mobile data-enabled applications for handheld computing devices that feature real-time wireless communication with a centralized operations management application. The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) uses our mobile order taking/scheduling system to help operate the region's demand responsive public transit services.

Since 2006, DemandTrans has worked with the service planning and operations functions of the RTD to first implement and then operate a technology platform for the agency's Call-N-Ride demand responsive transit services for the general public, which provide service in 22 zones throughout the region. The mobile application component of MobilityDR, as this platform is named, enables drivers of Call-N-Ride services to handle the booking and scheduling of passenger trip requests that they receive either via phone or in-person when a rider boards the vehicle at a transit station. Drivers use the mobile application, which runs on a tablet computer, to enter a passenger’s trip reservation, and the scheduling system then determines where to place the trip on the driver’s manifest of pickups and drop-offs. Scheduling can occur either on the device or the central server, which are kept synchronized several times each minute. Drivers work from their frequently updated trip manifest on the mobile device, and can interact with the manifest to obtain map-based trip routings and to look up and enter information on passenger trips as needed.

The mobile application used in MobilityDR is merely one element of a comprehensive technology platform which also includes web-based and smartphone-based passenger reservations capabilities, fully automated vehicle scheduling, automated passenger notifications, interactive voice response capabilities for passengers, and more. Since the Call-N-Ride service areas feature differently configured forms of DRT, the scheduling system includes the ability to handle multiple types of service configurations, including feeder-type services (so-called first-mile, last-mile service) and services with checkpoint and flex-point elements as well as traditional many-to-many DRT service. Supervisors see map-based real-time views of vehicle locations and the status of operations, and program administrators have access to a rich set of analytic reports. As the mobile devices are always connected and location-aware, the system is able to gather large amounts of highly detailed operational data, which is used to automatically update key system parameters such as average vehicle speeds by time of day.

MobilityDR is now also being used in a coordinated service venture with a human service agency transportation service in one of the largest service areas.