eSource Newsletter

Issue 2 | May 1, 2018

Innovation

We have officially launched RATP Dev Orbyt –
our technology and innovation framework! Read all about it here!

 

Making the Connection

Social Media Marketing: Does it Really Work? Let’s look at the numbers.
 

drive2zero™

Safety-critical work is ultimately channeled through relationships. Learn how to Build a Just Culture through people, trust and responsibility.

 

Standout Service

Concho Valley Transit District: Outstanding Small Urban Transit System Award
Plus, three RATP Dev properties were successful in receiving Federal Discretionary Grant Awards. Find out who they are.

News You Can Use

The Microtransit Movement is the talk of the transit industry. Find out exactly how it works and see our very own example, Slide.

Global Insights

The RATP Group is at the heart of innovation with the demonstration of a fully Autonomous Bus Garage in Lagny, France. Here are the details.

 
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“Innovation can be defined as ‘the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, and unarticulated needs – a new method or idea’. Like most necessity goods and services, embedding innovation throughout public transit is not only a smart, sustainable decision, it increases the desires for the industry’s very existence. As the demand for integrated mobility increases, so does the public’s expectation of transportation providers. Transportation providers need to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of technology, tools, and innovative concepts that impact different modes of transit – providing choices for mobility. As our own portfolio, Orbyt, expands and adapts to the industry needs, it is clear that now more than ever innovation is, and must be, at the foundation of our core services and pillars of success in public transit.”

About Sandy Freeman

Our Vice President of Innovation & Product Delivery, Sandy Freeman, is an experienced Innovation Delivery Leader with a demonstrated history of developing and bringing forward-thinking strategies to the table and establishes strong partnerships to advance products and solutions.  As a seasoned professional, she brings 23 years of expertise to RATP Dev USA.  

 
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3…2…1… Blast Off into Orbyt!

The RATP Dev USA Innovation team officially launched RATP Dev Orbyt at the New Orleans Leadership meeting at the end of March. Orbyt is RATP Dev’s official technology and innovation framework, encompassing home-grown technology tools, data analytics platforms powered by best-in-class partners, and innovative concepts.

Orbyt’s suite of capabilities is sure to keep your agency - and passengers in motion as you adapt and adopt to new industry trends and demands. Orbyt takes the passenger and operator journey, and connects them at the very core, putting you at the center of our focus, essentially revolving around you. By segmenting the connected journey in to time intervals: before, during, and after, Orbyt enhances and improves key elements throughout the journey: route management, customer experience, and data analysis. With concepts, tools, and technology applied to each segment of time, you will ensure that every passenger has access to any destination at any time.

Explore Space and Time:

Before: Route Management – deliver accurate real-time information to passengers to ensure they can plan their journey with ease, at the same time, have access to data tools to virtually alter routes and inform decision making regarding scheduling and fleet efficiency.

During: Customer Experience – deliver amenities to your passengers to elevate their experience during transit, including Wi-Fi on board, mobile fare collection, safety monitoring and more.

After: Data Analytics – every ride, every journey, every application, provides an opportunity to measure performance and capture key data points about the passenger’s experience. Use this data, along with other Key Performance Indicators to understand where service can be improved and how to respond to customer feedback.

Wherever you are in your journey, you have a place in our Orbyt. Access RATP Dev USA’s comprehensive, modern capabilities and concepts to advance alongside the transit industry – or blaze a trail ahead of it.

 
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Concho Valley Transit District Presented Outstanding Small Urban Transit System Award

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RATP Dev is proud to announce that our Concho Valley Transit District system, led by General Manager Vicente Huerta, received the Outstanding Small Urban Transit System Award during the 2018 Texas Transit Association Annual Conference and Roadeo in San Antonio, TX.

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The Texas Transit Association recognized CVTD for its recent innovative practices and its improvements in making services more effective for riders. In just the past 2 years alone, CVTD has been able to improve their safety record through hands on training and engaging their drivers in re-imagined safety blitz’s that are equal parts educational and entertaining. On-time performance has improved through the implementation of bus stops. These efforts have been paying off, as CVTD accident reports per year have been cut by over thirty percent. Second, through the collaborative efforts of the administration and staff, CVTD was able to increase efficiency, enough to allow for increased salaries and driver wages across the board. Finally, CVTD has been able to build local relationships with the surrounding universities, wellness homes, and small business in order to increase ridership, continue regional coordination efforts, and to plan transportation for new and exciting groups of individuals. In addition to CVTD’s 2018 Outstanding Small Urban Transit System Award, CVTD was also the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Rural Transit System Award just last spring.

CVTD’s mission is to provide safe, reliable, and friendly service to the community, thus giving them access while allowing them to maintain their independence. With these two awards in hand, we would like to sincerely thank drivers, staff, and administration for making our mission a reality. There are exciting opportunities arising, such as automated fare systems, in house maintenance, new inner city bus services, and employee retention programs for Concho Valley Transit District. Thank you again and we are excited for you all to be the face of change in world of public transportation.

 

RATP Dev Receives Federal Discretionary Grant Awards

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced approximately $264 million in project selections to improve the safety and reliability of America’s bus systems and enhance mobility. Demand for Bus and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program discretionary grants far exceed available funds and FTA received applications for 453 eligible projects totaling over $2 billion in funding from 53 States and territories. 

 

We are excited to announce that three RATP Dev properties were successful in receiving discretionary grants:

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Bloomington Transit was awarded $720,000 in discretionary funds to help purchase two (2) 40-foot diesel buses will to replace older buses that have exceeded their useful life. BPTC, which provides fixed-route bus service in the City of Bloomington, plans to use the new vehicles on its heavier volume routes.  Bloomington will match the grant with $180,000 of local funds for a total of $900,000 for this purchase.  

Congratulations to General Manager Lew May and his team!

 
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Fort Wayne Citilink is fortunate to receive $2.5 Million in discretionary grants for new electric hybrid buses to replace older vehicles that have exceeded their useful life. The project also includes an upgrade to the on-board camera safety system and bus maintenance training.  The grant provides an 80% federal share for the following projects:

  •  Four 40-foot ultra-low Sulphur bio-diesel hybrid buses
  •  On-board bus security camera system upgrades
  •  Bus mechanic workforce development training (including coursework from Ivy Tech Northeast Diesel Technology Program)
“These funds will not only help us get people to their jobs safely in new buses with state of the art security systems, they will help support Indiana jobs related to bus manufacturing, and also facilitate training for our mechanics using local resources” says acting Citilink General Manager Betsy Kachmar.
 
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The City of Colorado Springs (Mountain Metropolitan Transit) will receive $758,000 discretionary funding to acquire property, and design and build a bus storage facility, to house a fleet that is stored outside - which is exposed to the elements and sees increasing maintenance costs. The storage facility will provide operational stability and improve the longevity of MMT's fleet.

Congratulations to General Manager Gary Rushing and team!

 
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RATP Dev Continues to Grow!

Great news continues as we are excited to welcome Santa Maria Area Transit to the RATP Dev family!  In July, we will partner with SMAT to provide operations and maintenance of its fixed route transit and demand response services.  The City of Santa Maria is located on the central coast of California in Santa Barbara County and boasts a large population of students, working residents, seniors, and visitors which require safe, convenient, and reliable transit. RATP Dev is thrilled to be part of Santa Maria Area Transit’s more than 40-year history serving the Santa Maria, Orcutt and other unincorporated valley communities. We’re excited for the opportunity to participate in Santa Maria’s growth and partner with Santa Maria to provide a bright future and commitment to high quality fixed route and demand response services.

 
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What Makes Our System Different?

 

Building a Just Culture

The term Just Culture is described as: “a culture in which front line operators or others are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them that are commensurate with their experience and training, but where gross negligence, willful violations and destructive acts are not tolerated”.

It is about building trust, about dealing with inevitable mishaps, and about developing the capability in an organization to look at an incident from multiple perspectives before coming to a judgement.

People in Systems

In his book “Just Culture” Sydney Dekker lays out two views on human error, which can be seen as two ends in the spectrum of the debate on this topic. “The old view”, he states, “sees human error as the cause of incidents. To do something about incidents then, we need to do something about the particular human involved”. On the other hand, “The new, or systems view, sees human error as a symptom, not a cause. Human error is an effect of trouble deeper in the system”. Although both these points of view can be argued, he writes, “they leave an important question unattended: Can people in your organization simply blame the system when things go wrong? To many, this logical extension of the new view seems like a cop-out, like an excuse to get defective or irresponsible practitioners off the hook. The new view would seem almost incompatible with holding people accountable”.

At this point, Sydney Dekker makes a step which may well describe the heart of what a Just Culture is about:

“... systems are not enough. Of course we should look at the system in which people work, and improve it to the best of our ability. But safety-critical work is ultimately channeled through relationships between human beings or through direct contact of some people with a risky technology. At this sharp end, there is almost always some discretionary space into which no system improvement can completely reach. Rather than individual versus systems, we should begin to understand relationships and roles of people in systems.”

A Just Culture may well be about how to act in this Discretionary Space which is not solely governed by logic and laws but also by context, emotions, intentions and ethics. Building a Just Culture is about seeing the actions of a professional in the context of the whole system. 

Building Trust

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In healthy complex environments, people and machines work as partners. They willingly and seamlessly work together to achieve the common goal.

So, the key to achieving high levels of safety (and high effectiveness) is the building of trust and the maintenance of willingness to shoulder responsibility in the Discretionary Space of complex systems. Responding justly to inevitable incidents and heartfelt empowerment and acknowledgement of this responsibility are central ingredients to building a good safety culture.

Dealing with Inevitable Mishaps

Complex industries are run by people. They provide the everyday safety that society has come to take for granted. They form part of an essential chain that, together, make up the risk barriers that the industry has in place for protection against hazards.

Although carefully selected, trained and kept competent in what they do for society, they are humans and inevitably, humans will make errors. When people form the final risk barrier, mishaps may occur.

A particular feature of complex industries, and a significant contributor to the achieved safety level, is the consistent learning from mishaps and safety events to prevent recurrence. When something goes wrong, it is imperative to find out what happened. Frequently this leads to conclusions about people that have made errors of operational, technical or organizational nature. It is then all too easy to point towards these individuals and apportion blame. But if society want these people to perform these jobs, a way to deal fairly and justly with the inevitable human errors that will be made as part of their job must be found. That is why society should insist on a “just” culture in complex industries.

Staff Responsibility

All of the organization’s staff have their own responsibility to act safely in whatever they do. They are responsible for their competence in the job and fitness for duty. Where appropriate, they carry a license. They act in accordance with their training and professional standards for their job. They adhere to written procedures. If, in the interest of safety, it is necessary to deviate from procedures, they will do so and give full account. They show teamwork and actively support co-workers during their services wherever appropriate. If unexpected things come up, even events that (nearly) go wrong in which they are involved, they are keen to take responsibility and learn what they might have done wrong so they can improve and the system can improve.

Organizational Responsibility

In the organization all of the staff is appreciated as the most value-adding asset. The organization provides them with the right environment, the right tools, the right training and the right procedures that are necessary to perform the job.

Reparations

When mishaps do occur, the organization attempts to repair the situation as best as possible and restore the operations to normal. The organization provides compensation for those that have experienced personal loss or damage. The organization tries hard to prevent that same event from happening again. A case is not closed by condemning or finding the guilty one, but by discovering the underlying problems in the system, by rectifying this and by repairing the damages done. Everybody participates in this effort.

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No Tolerance for Unacceptable Behavior

The above statements do not mean that ‘anything goes’. The organization does not tolerate gross negligence, deliberately unsafe acts or recklessness from the staff, regardless of the outcome. There is constant discussion with the staff what the right professional behavior is for their jobs and where the boundaries of tolerated and non-tolerated acts are. The organization leaders and staff agree about what the consequences are if these norms are crossed.

Article courtesy of Skybrary – Human Error; excerpts from Sydney Dekker: “Just Culture”

 
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The RATP Group, the CEA and IVECO BUS Perform a First in Europe with the Demonstration of the Fully Autonomous Bus Garage

 
 

On March 30, 2018, the RATP Group, the CEA and Iveco Bus presented the demonstration of the fully autonomous garage of a bus in the 3rd basement of the center of Lagny, France (a Paris suburb). This experiment is part of the European Bus System of the Future 2 research scheme launched in 2015, co-funded by the European Union and coordinated by UITP.  This is the culmination of a technological research project led by the RATP Group, the CEA List and Iveco bus. Two use cases were studied as part of this research project.

How it Works

On arrival at the driver's depot, the bus starts in autonomous mode, leaves its parking space in the 3rd basement and goes to the exit of the depot. The driver takes their unit at the exit of the depot and begins their day.

At the end of their service, the driver leaves his bus at the entrance to the depot. Once the autonomous mode is activated, the vehicle parks in total autonomy in the place pre-assigned by the automatic fleet management system, down to the garage spaces in the basement, then directly joins the place that has been assigned.

For the RATP Group, this demonstration includes many points of interest that could be developed, including:

  • Optimization of the space available in bus centers located in dense urban areas, thanks to a tighter vehicle garage made possible by automation
  •   Assist bus drivers in their driving task by providing them with advanced driving assistance devices
  • To carry out this demonstration, at the heart of an operating bus center, the RATP Group relied on its two partners, IVECO BUS and the CEA List, to develop the garage function empowerment system:
  • IVECO BUS has modified one of the RATP's electric-hybrid Urbanway buses, in agreement with Ile-de-France Mobilités, so that it can be driven electrically and autonomously.
  • The CEA List has also deployed all its expertise in artificial intelligence and robotics. Equipped with sensors and an autonomous navigation controller, the bus is then able to orient and locate without human intervention while detecting any obstacles.
  • The RATP Group teams managed the entire project, integrated the various subsystems and developed the interface between the bus and the existing fleet management system, to communicate to the vehicle the available spaces in the depot and piloted the security of the demonstration.
  • During the tests, as part of the research project, a driver was always present on the bus to ensure the proper conduct of the experiment and ensure the supervision of the device, but without intervening on the autonomous driving of the vehicle.

 Watch the video and learn more about this innovative solution! 

The bus center of Lagny, RATP's technological flagship, will be hosting electric buses as early as 2019. This center, inaugurated in 2016 after having been modernized and expanded, is emblematic of RATP's bold policy of modernizing its facilities, industrial infrastructures and associated real estate development. RATP combines urbanism and industry in the city center by building a dense, mixed, sustainable and intelligent city.

The autonomous vehicle is one of the priority areas of innovation for the RATP Group, which aims to become a preferred partner for smart and sustainable cities. In addition to this demonstration of autonomous garage / unloading, the RATP Group is currently conducting two experiments of autonomous shuttles, in the Bois de Vincennes and on the CEA Paris-Saclay sites.

 
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Social Media Marketing: Does it Really Work?

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ABSOLUTELY!! We are experiencing tremendous growth and interaction on our LinkedIn page, RATP Dev USA, and we owe it all to you! LinkedIn provides an opportunity to communicate online and share exciting news about our systems around the US. Our team members, partners and customers like, share and comment on our posts daily. Here are some of the top posts from last month:

  • Our CalACT Conference attendance picture inviting attendees to come and visit our booth
  • Texas Transit Association 2018 Conference highlighting our RATP Dev award winners
  • Patrick Manley, our Regional Director of Safety, and his drive2zero™ presentation at the Texas Transportation Safety and Security Professionals Spring Meeting
  • SXSW demo of visually impaired technology at bus stops with CONNECTHINGS and BlindSquare
  • Capital Metro Roadeo Competition Winners

In these posts alone, we’ve received over 135 likes and counting! Even more interesting, are the 422 clicks and 14,969 impressions we’ve received on these posts from LinkedIn users. These statistics show the total number of people that have been introduced and exposed to our content.

We hope the success we are experiencing in our social media efforts is a reflection of the success you are seeing with social media in your individual agencies. Seeing is believing! If you or your marketing teams are following our lead, you should (also) be experiencing increased engagement with your passengers online. As a reminder from our previous social media training, here are the tips we are using to drive online momentum:

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1. Choose the Right Social Media Network for Your Brand

  • Although we only utilize LinkedIn, you can also use Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube to share posts for your viewers. Find out which one your passengers use most often and show up there with news, updates and highlights about your system/community

2. Share Content Quality over Quantity

  • Our best practice is 3 to 4 posts per week. This ensures you are in front of your passengers often enough that your transit system stays at the top of their mind and the quality of information you are providing is worthy of their attention

3. Always Keep It Professional

  • Find creative ways to be engaging while keeping it professional. For example, our post about a bus that runs off french fries at Western Kentucky University. Check it out!

4. Create a Calendar for Your Content Release

  • If you and your team have an idea of the content or topics you intend to share in the future it becomes easier to identify newsworthy information. As more people contribute you’ll always have relevant information to share with your customers.

The goal is to increase your brand’s awareness in your community by building relationships through the communication of relevant information online (that they look forward to receiving). So, include a question in your post that customers can answer in the comments, and be sure to ask your employees, customers and partners to like, share and repost the content they enjoy. The more people involved; the merrier!

 
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The Microtransit Movement

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What is microtransit? 

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) or Microtransit is the talk of the transit industry.  Public transit agencies are beginning to adapt new and innovative technologies and services to offer expanded options beyond fixed-route, paratransit, and other mass transit services by partnering with private companies to offer flexible-route options.  Microtransit serves to bridge traditional services and address the changing needs of the savvy riding public who look for alternatives that provide them with flexibility, at an affordable price, to fit their modern lifestyle.

The U.S. Department of Transportation defines microtransit as “a privately owned and operated shared transportation system that can offer fixed routes and schedules, as well as flexible routes and on-demand scheduling. The vehicles generally include vans and buses.” 

Microtransit offers significantly more affordable alternatives to services such as Uber and Lyft through shared rides, using larger vehicles that include vans and shuttle buses.  This on-demand offering provides fixed route transit-like service but on a smaller scale, encouraging the use of public transit while discouraging use of single-occupancy vehicles. 

Public transportation agencies are pursuing partnerships with private companies to improve service quality and provide a more customer-focused experience for riders.  Microtransit provides a solution that aims to attract new riders and present alternatives for existing users of traditional transit services.  These services are not intended to replace mass transit offerings, but instead to aid in providing additional options to serve areas with a lower demand for mass transit and ensure all members of the riding public have access to public transportation.

How does it work?

Routes are, in essence, crowdsourced.  Identified zones within a city or area have basic fixed routes, but remain flexible based on requests from users.  Riders request or schedule service through their app or other technology platform, are provided with a list of available routes and timeframes for their trip (with each option giving an estimated total trip time), and make their way to a convenient pick-up point.  At the end of their journey, they are dropped off at a location close to their desired destination.  Pick-up and drop-off locations are usually no more than a five-minute walk.

From the operations perspective, routing technology provides the Operator with the most efficient route, and uses location data to match passengers to available vehicles.  Additionally, riders are provided real-time information about the status of their trip both before and during.  In some cases the travel is enhanced with free wi-fi service provided on-board. 

Users sign up through the app which allows them to request service by identifying their pickup and drop-off locations, then pay exclusively through the app via secured systems.  This eliminates the need for the Operator to handle cash or other methods of payment and provides the user with a secure and easy way of paying their fare.  Users enjoy the simplified system, considered a premium service, for an affordable price.  Pricing is dependent on the demand at the time of travel but fares remain reasonable, often no more than $5-6 per trip. 

Is this service in practice now?

RATP Dev currently operates a successful microtransit service, in Bristol, UK - called Slide.  Launched in July 2016, Slide sees more than 400 trips per week in the Bristol area.  Customers are delighted and often post positive reviews on their Facebook page.  RATP Dev will be launching this mircotransit service in the US in 2018.

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Hear it from the passenger

“Had my first slide ride in to work this morning and couldn't recommend it more! Takes all of the stress of commuting to work away, will be using this service from now on!”

Read more about Slide:  Slide Bristol

The U.S. is seeing an increase in microtransit services.  Pilot programs are successfully running in several U.S. cities including Sacramento, California and Arlington, Texas. 

 

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Upcoming Events:

APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference & Expo

May 6-9, Tampa, Florida

 Virginia Transit Association Annual Transit Conference

May 22-23, Richmond, VA