Manatee County Government Administrative Center Honorable Patricia M. Glass Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - September 24, 2019
September 24, 2019 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #64

Real Time Bus Information


Contact and/or Presenter Information
William Steele, Transit Division Manager, William.Steele@mymanatee.org, (941) 747-8621 x7440

Ryan Suarez, Transit Planning Section Manager, Ryan.Suarez@mymanatee.org, (941) 747-8621 x7622

Action Requested
None. This is an informational item.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
None Required. No action to be taken by the Board.

Background Discussion
The Manatee County Public Works/Transit Division recently completed the installation and pilot testing for a new, state-of-the-art technology program. This technology is available to Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) passengers onboard the Transit/Trolley fleet and at Transit Stations for tracking of buses and trolleys, allowing them to monitor vehicle progress in real-time. Access to the real-time bus information is provided in several ways:
  • Via a mobile device,
  • On the internet,
  • At bus stops,
  • On-board the Bus/Trolley; and
  • Dynamic Signage at Transit Stations.
Most importantly, the new technology system will calculate/predict the real-time arrival for each MCAT bus or trolley, at every bus stop in the transit system, which provides a significant advantage to MCAT passengers. In fact, MCAT passengers can now track their bus in real time which allows them to make informed decisions about when to arrive at their bus stop, and thereby minimize wait time.

An additional feature to the system is an onboard bus infotainment system which will alert passengers to the next three bus stops along a route, allowing riders to prepare to de-board in advance of their desired bus stop.  This next stop information is visually displayed on a monitor onboard each vehicle and the automated system provides audible stop announcements as well. This new onboard infotainment system will also allow MCAT to provide important public service announcements and quickly issue service alerts for upcoming detours, suspension of regular service for a tropical storm event, or inform riders regarding upcoming service modifications.

With the addition of the new technology, passengers can now benefit from both MCAT mobile ticketing and real-time bus information, via their mobile device. They can use their smartphones to purchase a bus pass, use that smartphone as their "fare media," and receive advance text alerts on that same device regarding the arrival time of their bus-in real-time.

The real-time bus information technology project is a dynamic project requiring the involvement of many different members of the Transit Division team, including: Information Technology/Business Services, Planning, Operations, and Logistics staff. The final product also reflects a concerted effort by multiple County Departments and Divisions including Information Technology, Public Works Department/Highway Division, and the County's Procurement Division.

At the September 24th  Board of County Commissioner's meeting, Public Works/Transit Division staff will present the Real Time Bus Information (RTBI) system features and the customer-facing tools for monitoring fixed-route vehicle progress in real time. In addition, an MCAT bus fully equipped with the new RTBI system features will be parked at the Manatee County Administrative Center for viewing by members of the public, media, and the Board of County Commissioners --  all interested parties are welcome.

County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)

Explanation of Other

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
None. This is an informational item.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs