The application period for this challenge is now closed

  • Governer Partner :Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • Department :MTC Operations staff / AC Transit
  • Category :AI/ML, Data Analytics, Data Collection / Security, Geo Services, IoT, Mobility, Process Improvement

Project Summary

Routing support software for AC Transit Transbay Buses to improve travel time reliability and reduce peak period traffic delay.

Challenge Details

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) seeks to improve travel time reliability and reduce peak period traffic delay of AC Transit Transbay buses through creation of a dynamic routing decision tool based on real-time roadway speed data and traffic incident information.

This challenge is part of the Bay Bridge Forward program to improve transit operations and increase person throughput within the congested Bay Bridge Corridor. MTC Operations staff is the lead for this challenge, working in collaboration with AC Transit.

Currently westbound Transbay buses travelling from the East Bay to San Francisco in the morning regularly experience congestion on the I-580, I-80 and West Grand Avenue approaches to the Bay Bridge, particularly in the morning. In addition, there are often a highly variable travel times for these in-bound trips. Unless there is a major incident, buses are not typically detoured to avoid congestion. One exception is the NL route on Oakland’s West Grand, which frequently diverts through I-880 after its last East Bay stop, a process based largely on driver observations and historic patterns.

MTC staff have identified Oakland’s West Grand Avenue as a potentially faster alternate route to the Bay Bridge, specifically for the westbound buses using I-580 after their last East Bay stops. The travel time on this route will improve due to a construction project, currently underway, to provide an HOV/bus lane at the West Grand Avenue on-ramp, which is expected to open in spring of 2019.

However, efficiently rerouting these buses could be complicated due to the fact that traffic conditions can change quickly and significantly on both I-580 westbound and West Grand Ave. Traffic queues from the bridge and traffic incidents (eg – accidents, lane closures) can significantly impact travel times on either route, changing the best route selection in real-time. This variability, as well as the lack of reliable real-time information and a tool that provides automated routing decision recommendations, are currently challenges for the existing NL rerouting process.

MTC and AC Transit seek a software solution to provide the following outcomes, in roughly phased order:

Phase 1
• Reduce average Transbay bus travel time and increase its reliability by allowing AC Transit controllers to pro-actively reroute Transbay buses based on the most accurate and available real-time traffic information. (Initial data validation analysis has tentatively concluded that travel time data from Google API with possible use of Waze for supplementary data may be the most appropriate data sources for this use.)
• Reduce required effort by AC Transit staff (controllers and drivers) to make the bus re-route decision.
• Provide AC Transit controllers with additional information on traffic incidents and congestion events when needed, to gauge the severity and likely duration of an event
• Allow MTC to ascertain that the routing system is being used, the re-routes occurred and the magnitude of the travel time benefit of any re-routes.

Phase 2 (tentative)
• Incorporate video feeds from newly installed roadside cameras in to routing system interface
• Integrate routing system with CleverCAD, AC Transit’s new Automatic Vehicle Locator/Computer Aided Dispatch system (CAD/AVL).

Phase 1 would be the focus of the 16-week STIR Challenge; Phase 2 would occur later.