Chicago Transit Authority bus customers can look forward to clearer messages informing them of their upcoming stops as the result of new technology employed by the agency. The CTA entered into a $14.8 million contract with Clever Devices of Syosset, New York, for the acquisition of an Automated Voice Annunciation System (AVAS) and an Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) that will significantly enhance service for CTA's bus customers.
The AVAS will provide automated bus stop announcements on CTA buses and electronic signs that display the upcoming stop. When buses are at stops, the AVAS will announce the route and destination of the bus.
?This new technology will make our buses more convenient for our customers to use, especially those customers who are visually or hearing impaired and those who are unfamiliar with their destination," said Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?Implementing these systems will enhance the CTA's ability to provide on-time, clean, safe and friendly service."
CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "We are always looking for technological innovations that improve our service. These enhancements make it easier for our customers to know when they are approaching their destinations. We also will be able to get more detailed information on where our customers are boarding and alighting buses and how best to meet changes in ridership demand."
The announcement system determines its position by using a combination of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), odometer inputs that provide distance traveled, and a gyroscope that observes changes in direction.
The Automatic Passenger Counter system also is based on global positioning satellite technology and provides an accurate count of where customers board and alight buses and the number of customers onboard buses at any given point on a route.
Clever Devices will install the system on all but the oldest CTA buses, which are nearing retirement. The passenger counter will be installed on 266 of those buses, 14 percent of the fleet, which will allow the CTA to get an accurate sample of customer information throughout the service area. All buses purchased by CTA in the future will come equipped with both systems in place. Installation and development of the announcements and associated data bases will take place between now and December 2003, with automated announcements in full use by the end of 2004.
The installation of this system at the CTA is the largest undertaking of its kind in the United States. Clever Devices has previously installed its AVAS system on a number of transit systems in cities across the country including Dallas, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Boston and Baltimore.
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