The CITA project was created in order to render the public transportation in remote rural areas more efficient.
The objective of the CITA Project was to develop and test an advanced demand-responsive transport system for rural and inter-urban public passenger transport. With few exceptions the system has been based on existing communication and information technology and components.
The system aimed to increase public transport efficiency in areas with low transport demand and enhance conventional line services by on-line dispatching the bus route and "on demand" scheduling. Demand-responsive dispatching shall be integrated with "normal" dispatching in conventional line services, so that bus lines can operate under demand-responsive mode in rural areas while running as normal line buses in the urban stretch of their itineraries. Finally, the system should improve coordination between bus operators and integrate different transport media.
The system was designed as a tool able to dispatch (relatively) larger fleets efficiently with a small number of staff. In this way, system acquisition and operation costs were expected to cross the break-even point and provide a self-financing tool for highly automated bus services in a rural environment.
Handling larger fleets requires tools that those days demand-responsive systems did not provide, such as:
- scheduling systems
- electronic ticketing, credit/debit card
- computer-based accountancy of ticket sales
- comprehensive statistical analysis to supervise the efficiency of the lines
- on-line passenger information at major bus stops, thorough videotex and other media
- maintenance control systems.
In order to have a system that can serve several networks and a considerable number of vehicles, demand-responsive
algorithms should be integrated with an advanced AVM and bus operation control systems (with a speed database, advanced graphic support, fleet management and driver dispatching aids, modular structure for the easy installing of additional communication processes/interface to serve third systems or remote devices). In the last stage, the system should be checked in a real location. It should therefore be installed in a rural area.
This EUREKA project has developed a control and dispatching structure capable of:
- handling demand-responsive dispatching for a higher number of vehicles (up to 50 vehicles per dispatcher);
- integrating different dispatching strategies and applying them flexibly wherever each of them fits best;
- together with different stategies handling different qualities of service: services for urban and rural areas with on-line dispatching and services for very low-density rural and mountain areas with off-line dispatching, requiring advance reservation;
- always offering Real-Time reservation;
- controlling and dispatching in different small rural and urban networks, whether interconnected or not;
- linking a network of remote reservation terminals, as well as operating a reservation service backing-up remote posts at peak hours and substituting them in off-peak periods.
The pilot project has:
- created a service structure that, tested during the pilot phase, was capable of flexibly integrating new areas and networks, and aimed to offer this service in the entire region through distributed service centres;
- established a service structure that was able to provide a dispatching service to different private and public bus operators in different areas;
- established a service structure that was able to concentrate dispatching services for different networks with different features in one centre, as well as distribute dispatching responsibilities and create new centres.
The service structure had to be capable of permanently evaluating the parameters relevant for concentration or distribution of responsibilities and operating a structure that satisfied both the need for an efficient usage of resources as well as the needs for proximity and identification with the respective area.
Social and Service Achievements:
- Increase in the mobility in rural areas providing quality transport in areas of low population density at a low general transport cost.
- Improvement of the nodal split between private and public transport by offering an quality service.
- Improvement in connections between transport (local and long distance transport) subsystems to improve transport connections and encourage the setting up of new relationships.
- Offering the sector of companies of regular passenger road transport the possibility to i