The 80 20 rule

WestCAT $551,000 • Implementation of technology to provide real-time at every stop
and installation of 20 signs

The RM2 grant for this project $551k pays for the project up to sign off. (Resolution No. 3708, Revised)

The ongoing maintenance of this system is estimated to be over $120k per year.

Where is the grant money for this part of the project which will continue until the end of life of the project?

Good question?


4 Costs and challenges
However one decides to categorize the maintenance effort, it is still clear that software
maintenance accounts for a huge amount of the overall software budget for an information
system organization. Since 1972 [28], software maintenance was characterized as an
“iceberg” to highlight the enormous mass of potential problems and costs that lie under the
surface. Although figures vary, several surveys [1, 2, 7, 10, 34, 46, 54, 56, 58] indicate that
software maintenance consumes 60% to 80% of the total life cycle costs; these surveys also
report that maintenance costs are largely due to enhancements (often 75–80%), rather than


(b) Definitions. “Life cycle cost,” as used in this clause, is the sum of all costs over the
useful life of a building, system or product. It includes the cost of design, construction,
acquisition, operation, maintenance, and salvage (resale) value, if any.


Four Years later


DR wins Californian transit order

Digital Recorders has received an order for intelligent transportation systems valued at approximately US$551,000 from Western Contra Costa Transit Authority (WestCAT) in California.

David L. Turney (left), chairman, president, and chief executive of Digital Recorders (DR), says, “DR has been contracted to manufacture and deliver intelligent transportation systems for the WestCAT bus fleet. Products ordered include the Digital Recorders automatic vehicle location system, Talking Bus automatic voice annunciation system and OTvia software, which provides passenger advisory information for display signs – some of which will be supplied by DRI’s TwinVision subsidiary in Durham, North Carolina.”

The OTvia system will also provide connectivity to WestCAT’s Regional 511 system, which enables passengers to telephone 5-1-1 to learn about their bus schedule. The project will commence in the first quarter of 2008 and is expected to conclude in the fourth quarter.

WestCAT provides local, express, and regional service to the California cities of Pinole and Hercules and the unincorporated communities of Montalvin Manor, Tara Hills, Bayview, Rodeo, Crockett, and Port Costa.

14 February 2008


14 feb 2012

The project is not yet complete and the Equipment is already over 4 years old.

Warranty? When does it commence?

1997 Intelligent Transit Pioneer

Micro Services provided project management services to the agency from 1996 - successful project completion.


ITS- The TR@KS Transportation Information Kiosk Project
Lynn Osborn
Contra Costa Commute Alternative Network Program Manager
Central and Eastern Contra Costa, California
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (925) 407-0353

This project was developed to provide a comprehensive site with real-time traffic, and other Bay
Area transportation information. A total of twelve kiosks were deployed which utilize
touchscreen technology. The “platform” for the kiosksite is an internet-based system using the
TR@KS website (also developed as part of this project) on a Windows 95 operating system.
Both the website ( and the kiosksite provide transportation information for all
transit services in the Bay Area (including route maps and schedules), real-time traffic and
incident reports, airport transportation, bikes, RIDES ridematch lists, TravInfo, carpool and
vanpool information and forms, employer registration and information, Commuter Choice, Park
and Rides, and on-line registration forms for all of the Contra Costa Countywide Incentive
Programs, as well as other transportation project information. There is also an on-line user
survey and comment box.

Kiosk Locations
This project originally deployed twelve kiosks at various locations in Contra Costa County and
also included the on-going maintenance and effectiveness tracking of them. To date a total of
twenty-two kiosks have been installed. The kiosks have been placed at key locations which
provide high pedestrian traffic at the following locations:
• Richmond Social Service Office
• Martinez Social Service Office
• Antioch Social Service Office
• Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Walnut Creek
• Pacific Bell in San Ramon.
• Hercules Social Service Office
• Richmond City Hall
• Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Martinez
• Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Vallejo
• Liberty Adult Education in Brentwood
• Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill
• Center for Higher Education in San Ramon
• Acalanes Adult Education Center
• Four Contra Costa library sites
• Five PIC One-Stop GAIN offices

Tracking Software
Webtrends is the software used to track the use of the website and the kiosks, which provides
data about the number of website and kiosk visitors, what pages were viewed most often and
other useful information. In addition to this tracking software, incentive registration forms,
RIDES ridematch requests, and user surveys are tracked from both website and kiosk users.
Based on information received, all eligible respondents are sent the appropriate information, or
incentives. The information gathered includes the pages on the kiosksite and website that
individuals either “touch” or “click”, as well as other useful tracking information. Over 1400 user
surveys have been submitted via the web or the kiosks with information about the extent to
which users plan to use the system. Over 86% of the surveys indicated that the visitors would
use the site on a regular basis in the future to access Bay Area transportation information.

Approximately 3,600 internet and kiosk users visit the site monthly, viewing an average of 8
pages per visit. Interestingly enough, the most frequently visited page of the website is the Real
Time Traffic, whereas the most frequently visited page of the kiosksite is the Bus/BART page,
with its route maps and schedules.
In addition to user surveys received, the following results were tracked based on incentive forms
submitted for FY 1998/99 alone:
• 118 carpool trips X 180 days of effectiveness X 32.5 miles =345,150 vehicle miles reduced
• 72 GRH trips X 250 days of effectiveness X 34.5 miles =310,500 vehicle miles reduced
• 664 BART trips X 90 days of effectiveness X 37 miles =2,211,120 vehicle miles reduced
• 484 bus trips X 90 days of effectiveness X 4.3 miles =187,308 vehicle miles reduced
• 2 ACE train trips X 90 days of effectiveness X 72 miles =12,960 vehicle miles reduced
• 60 Vanpool trips X 240 days of effectiveness X 60 miles =864,000 vehicle miles reduced
• A total of 3,931,038 vehicle trips were reduced as a result of this project, with an average of
2,500 web/kiosk visitors a month (this is now up to 3,600 per month)
The TR@KS website is regularly updated with current transportation information. Employers are
accessing the site more often, as new announcements are added regularly. Check it

AVL Automatic Vehicle Location Systems

AVL systems what are they?

What do they do?

The systems most basic functionality is to report vehicle position in near real time to a system which stores the recorded vehicle positions in data table rows.

Why are they needed or desired?

The AVL has several key required and desired functions.

The AVL serves the needs of different users.





Are all projects the same?


Except for the basic functionality project scope can expand from very narrow to very broad.


 AVL is a complex technology which inherently consist of technologies which are in varied states of development.
Onboard Processor
radio or Cellular Network data communications links.
carrier based networks (ATT Verizon etc..)
Vehicle network
multiple devices on the bus network. 1708
Talking Bus Internal signs
Change management

On street Passenger information devices
Internet connectivity  
Web based Map and track
Web based Schedule and prediction info
Mobile apps.

Functions extracted from a real RFP
1.2 Vehicle Location Data
1.3 Maps
1.4 Route Management
1.5 Customer Interfaces
1.6 Access to Location Data
1.7 LED and LCD Signage
1.8 Interface with TRAPEZE Scheduling and Dispatch Software
1.9 Compliance with the City of Oklahoma City IT Standards

2. Optional Requirements 2.1 Automatic Annunciation System
2.2 Automatic Passenger Counter
2.3 Interface with On Board Fare Collection System
2.4 On-Board Surveillance Camera System
2.5 Wi-Fi Service on the Bus

3. Proposed Solution 3.1 Data & Infrastructure
3.2 Hosted Versus Non-Hosted
3.3 Software and Hardware Requirements
3.4 Warrant and Maintenance
3.5 Documentation
3.6 Training
3.7 Installation




Born under a bad sign

Sign testing and preparation phase

We received several pallets of signs and related equipment.
I recommended we setup a test stand in our equipment garage where we could stage and test signs prior to deployment.  This was done by our Electrician. 
During the installation of the test sign a number of questions were raised about the signs and the associated equipment.  The Electrician noted a number of potential safety and suitability issues.
The Sign controllers are powered by a 110-240v power supply.
There is no visible testing lab sticker on the sign or the controller. (Who is UL anyway?)
The signs themselves had rugged enclosures but they also had openings on the top sides. These enclosures were not rain tight or suitable for mounting in wet or damp locations .

Read more: Born under a bad sign

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