The Problem / Challenge
Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut has approximately 11,250 students enrolled every year in various undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. The Yale University Shuttle provides transportation for students, faculty and staff, between the University, the East Rock neighborhood and the New Haven train stations. This is a free service that runs year-round with the exception of University Holidays. Service to the Yale Community includes: daytime routes, night-time routes (formerly called the "minibus"); Yale New Haven Hospital Shuttle, VA Hospital Shuttle and the Special Services Shuttle. As with any university, the safety of their faculty, staff and students is the number one priority for Yale.
One of the main benefits of the transportation service at Yale was also one of its main problems. Students would flag a bus down and give the operator a drop off location not found on the current route. For immediate demand response requests, Yale's dispatch would radio operators on routes and ask who was available. It was up to the drivers to cover their services based on proximity - typically leaving them off schedule and off route. Drivers could not adhere to a fixed schedule based on incoming demand response calls and flag stops, therefore there was no way to provide waiting riders accurate ETA information and no way to monitor schedule adherence.
Incorporating a flex route into a demand response schedule was paramount for Yale. Drivers had to be able to deviate from the fixed route for demand response requests and flag stops. Being able to give waiting riders automated imminent arrival calls when the bus was minutes away meant students, staff and faculty could wait safely inside buildings until the shuttle approached.
TripSpark’s Voice Over Phone notification solution was also a must have for Yale: Students can now call for a ride while working in the lab and wait safely inside the building. When the bus is minutes away they get an automated phone call letting them know of the "imminent arrival".
“Our faculty, staff and students are very happy now.”
Once the TripSpark solution was in place and fully implemented, operators were able to fully appreciate the ease of use and efficiency it offered them. They no longer had to determine who was the closest to a new demand response call; the AVL solution determined that for them and automatically sent the notification to the appropriate vehicle.
“We would never consider going back to manually dispatching vehicles.”
The biggest impact is the ability for Yale to give passengers accurate ETAs. Now that the software is in place, when a call comes in, dispatch can automatically locate the closest vehicle, input the data and give the passenger a time of arrival that they can rely on. Staff, students and faculty at Yale have greatly benefited from TripSpark's Phone Notification feature. Not only do they feel safer being able to wait in a well-lit building or the safety of their own home, but they can also be secure in the knowledge that when the call comes letting them know that the bus is 3 minutes away, that time is accurate.
“Rides per vehicle per hour almost doubled.” Ed Bebyn (Senior Management)
TripSpark’s Campus Transportation Software solution helped to foster a safe environment for Yale University’s transit riders. Customer service matters as much to them as it does to us.