The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) has partnered with Swiftly, Inc., a San Francisco-based platform for public transit and mobility services, to bring improved real-time transit arrival and vehicle crowding predictions to RideKC. These improvements were tested internally at KCATA in 2020 and are now fully implemented.
As part of this project, Swiftly is leveraging existing GPS data from onboard broadband routers and the agency’s dispatch system, Trapeze’s TransitMaster. Swiftly leverages this vehicle position information to more accurately predict when the next bus will arrive, rather than relying solely on the existing dispatch system. Customers and RideKC staff can now access more accurate bus arrival and position information right from their phone, via the free Transit app. This will also improve accuracy of real-time information available at digital displays, including those along Prospect MAX and at 3-Trails, East Village and 75th & Prospect transit centers.
Swiftly gives customers more frequent location updates every few seconds, instead of every 30 seconds. When a bus is traveling at 30 miles per hour down a major thoroughfare, that can be the difference between missing the bus and the bus being a block away.
Transit app is using the same feed to provide real-time vehicle crowding information using existing Automated Passenger Counters (APCs) onboard select vehicles. Eventually, the entire RideKC fleet will be capable of providing this information, which has been widely adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are pleased to roll out another innovative partnership that will result in a better customer experience,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA president and CEO. “Swiftly is like a protein booster to a smoothie…it gives riders information that is more accurate and reliable than it is today.”
Swiftly’s CEO Jonny Simkin shares RideKC’s enthusiasm. “We’re proud to work with RideKC to make their transit system more efficient, reliable and seamless. This partnership will empower passengers with highly accurate real-time information and will enable the RideKC staff to leverage big data for enhanced decision-making.”
RideKC’s official app is Transit. The free Transit app offers many features to help riders get around the region, including quick access to accurate real-time transit information and live maps with vehicle locations and crowding information. In addition, Transit app also contains a trip planner to help users compare the travel time and price of a variety of transportation options, including walking, biking, transit, rideshare and more. Riders can download the Transit app from the Apple® App Store for iOS devices, Google Play™ for Android devices, or by visiting https://transit.app/.
Performance Monitoring and Reporting
In addition to real-time arrival predictions, RideKC administrative staff has access to Swiftly’s robust dashboard for advanced and intuitive reporting and performance analysis. Staff can view real-time bus location for the entire fleet, view historical location information, compare on-time performance of routes, evaluate run times, and analyze the bus speed for all routes. This information is invaluable for transit planners when considering passenger requests and service modifications.