PVTA Vision Statement
Several internal and external factors from the past and future inform PVTA’s capital and operating vision for the next decade.
Service was cut about 21% in 2002 and 2003 and 3% was restored through cost efficiencies. PVTA has not expended additional PVTA funding for any new service. Over the past five years ridership has increased 18%, even with a fare increase in 2008, with an 8% growth rate last year.
68% of our riders are transit dependent. Currently parking is inexpensive, traffic congestion is limited, and there is not a concentration of a large number of major employers in the down town areas. As these factors change, more choice riders will ride PVTA. There are several reasons why ridership growth will continue, probably at even greater levels.
The senior population will be growing dramatically; the mobility impaired population will be increasing with further advancements in medical science.
Many of the current young generation are more interested in spending dollars on the latest technology rather than on an automobile. The desire to reduce energy consumption will increase as environmental impacts become more apparent.
PVTA operates in a Springfield terminal that was never designed for PVTA’s use. The opening of Union Station will provide riders with a safe, convenient, comfortable facility that was designed for PVTA’s operations.
PVTA will have a new role to play, which is providing feeder service to new rail service from Connecticut to Union Station and feeder service to Amtrak service at Northampton and Holyoke stations.
The President of UMass sees a vision that includes a student population increase of 300 per year and a faculty increase of 250 per year.
A casino will be located in Springfield or Palmer. PVTA will need to provide service to the casino and the related development which will occur. For example we have already met with MGM Grand and they have offered to fund a downtown circulator trolley route in Springfield. Much later service would also be needed for casino employees.
Springfield and Holyoke have strong development plans that will require service as these projects materialize.
Our current route structure is radial into the Springfield Terminal; many of our riders have expressed the need for more cross town and direct service that doesn’t require as much transferring. At our current frequency levels, we cannot hope to attract more choice riders.
Many of our capital projects will also increase passenger levels. Examples are multimodal and transfer centers and the dissemination of real time departure information to our passengers.
Attachment A & B show a summary of the new services and capital needs that PVTA requires. Over the past several years we have conducted many rider forums and several of these service improvements have been consistently mentioned by our passengers. Over the next year we will be able to further refine our service plan with the results of our system-wide review.
Intelligent Transportation Systems Vision
PVTA has now installed fully integrated, multi-component intelligent transportation systems on its entire fleet of vehicles. This system is an importation first step in the establishment of a foundation upon which more advanced technology, customer service, and efficiency and security applications can be built over the next ten years. Another important element of PVTA’s ITS vision is to improve and enhance communications systems.
Attachment C presents the ITS Projects that would achieve PVTA’s ITS Vision
Green PVTA Vision
Over the next 10 years, PVTA intends to expand upon projects that would reduce energy consumption. Shown below are energy efficient projects that we want to advance.
- Roof replacement at the Springfield Garage
- Lighting replacement at the Northampton Garage
- Hybrid articulated buses and hybrid buses
- LEED Certified Operations/Maintenance Facility
- Fuel efficient Paratransit vehicles and technology
- CNG and/or fuel cell for new service buses and technology
- Flex Route in rural areas to replace existing ADA service
Legislative/Regulatory Changes to Enhance Capital and/or Operating RTA Resources
- Allow RTA Bonding Authority identified in 161B.
- Add language in the MEPA Development Review Process to require funding for transit service or use.
- Task RTA Council Working Group to identify a stable, secure and sufficient dedicated funding stream for RTA’s.
- PVTA has several Gateway Cities that are in need of additional service. Funding should be made available for transit service in addition to the education funding that is currently available.
- Require that the Health and Human Services Department expand programs that fund Fixed Route Service trips for their clients. One successful example has brought $178,351 to PVTA for transportation of drug rehabilitation clients.
- Require that the Highway Division provide transit mitigation funds for roadway construction projects that negatively impact transit riders and service.
PVTA Service needs in next 10 years
- 10 minutes frequency on main line routes
- 5 minute frequency on main lines during peak hours
- 20 - 30 minute frequency on all other routes during peak periods
- Cross-town service within Springfield
- Cross-town service Springfield to Chicopee
- Direct service Springfield to Amherst
- Express service Holyoke to Amherst
- Feeder service to Holyoke, Northampton, and Union Station
- Feeder service to Park & Ride lots (Whately, VA in Northampton, Belchertown, service to Greenfield from northern communities) commuter rail
- Fixed Route feeder service through communities such as Agawam, Ludlow, Westfield, Wilbraham, Palmer, Ware, and Chicopee
- Expand Sunday service to current Saturday service level
- Holiday service including major holidays that currently have no service
- Service for 2nd & 3rd shift on main line routes in Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee routes
- Service to Enfield, CT; service to Bradley airport
- Connecting service with Franklin Regional Transit Authority
- Provide service as necessary for casino location
- Paratransit ridership increase with aging population, expansion of flex routes.
Mobility Management Department at PVTA
- Trip by trip eligibility for paratransit; feeder service paratransit to fixed route
- Requires additional staffing beyond current level
- Required improved paratransit scheduling software
- One-Stop call center for all transit needs/information in the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas.
- Requires additional call center staffing
- Required software/database for information, reservation technology
- Travel Training
- Expand PVTA’s current program to include LEP, train-the-trainer, schools, etc.
PVTA Capital needs in the next 10 years
- New Maintenance/Operations Facility in Springfield
- Roof project at existing Springfield maintenance facility
- Northampton Multimodal Center
- Westfield Multimodal Center
- Rehabilitation of Northampton Maintenance/Operations Facility
- UMass Transit Maintenance/Operations Facility - new electrical system, lefts for buses, plumbing
- Multimodal Center at UMass
- Transfer centers at stops with multiple routes
- Increase in fleet due to Casino, Union Station, rail service to Holyoke & Northampton, and UMass growth
- Replace existing fleet of 174 buses
- Replace existing fleet of 140 paratransit vans; with the limited useful life of a paratransit van PVTA would expect to replace more than 220 vans over the next 10 years
- Shelters, solar lighting, signage with QR Codes
- Solar lighting geared to eliminate need for shoveling shelters
Safety and Security
- Enterprise Facility Video – This project is tasked to equip PVTA facilities with an enterprise facility video solution across all PVTA operations, administration and passenger depot facilities. It is the intent of PVTA to deploy a high resolution camera system with robust analytic software to monitor and issue alerts on PVTA defined triggers.
- Paratransit Video – Transit Video System (TVS) to equip all PVTA paratransit vehicles with video equipment and depot wireless to offload video.
- Facility Access Control – This project will establish a secure access network whereby only authorized personnel are granted admittance to PVTA offices and facilities via an electronic pass with credentials controlled and approved as part of a comprehensive PVTA security process.
- Bus Stop Shelter Signage – PVTA will deploy state of the art electronic signage at key transfer points that will display the wait time for the buses serving that location. This system will work with other passenger convenience systems to ensure that fixed route passengers have the most up-to-date information regarding the departure time of their bus.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) - The PVTA IVR Communications project is a state of the art Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution tasked to provide transit passengers with 24 x 7 access to real-time traveler, trip planning, scheduling, and customer service information. In addition, the automated system will proactively disseminate transit service notifications such as next bus, paratransit call ahead, and travel service advisories using voice, text, and email messaging solutions.
- Internet Access – The Internet access project will provide high speed internet access for PVTA riders while riding PVTA buses.
- Cellular Communications – The PVTA Cellular Communications project is tasked to provide high speed data connectivity between PVTA service vehicles and facilities in support of operations and security. This critical communications infrastructure will provide the avenue by which PVTA will be able to access any vehicle during operations to verify the safety and security of passengers and personnel. Additional functionality will provide passengers with high speed internet access. Supervisory vehicles will also be equipped with cellular communications in support of mobile dispatch and emergency monitoring.
- Massachusetts Communications Tower Access – The PVTA Massachusetts Communications Tower Access project is an ongoing effort to identify communications infrastructure options owned and controlled by other Commonwealth agencies in an effort to collocate communications equipment and provide optimal voice/data coverage in the PVTA service area while reducing operational expense of supporting multiple tower locations.
- Microwave – The PVTA Facility Communications Project is tasked to provide microwave high speed data connectivity between PVTA and transit facilities in support of operations. This critical communications infrastructure will provide the channel by which PVTA operators will connect to the Intelligent Transportation System network that is located at the Administration offices, enabling the use of advanced technology and maximizing the ITS applications. This project will enable PVTA to control its communications network and not depend on a third party for operational communications.
- Fiber Network – The PVTA Fiber Network Project will connect all PVTA facilities to available fiber networks within the service area. These high speed connections will link all PVTA facilities and provide a fault tolerant operations environment to the PVTA centralized dispatch network. This infrastructure will provide the necessary bandwidth to accommodate the rapid exchange of data necessary to partner with the University of Massachusetts Regional Travelers Information Center (RTIC) as a disaster recovery site for PVTA Operations.
- Wireless Communication Routing – Equip revenue vehicles with wireless access technology and deploy wireless networks in all PVTA garages and depots to facilitate the exchange of data necessary to support proposed enhanced fare box functionality and the offload of video for management use.
- Wireless Card Reader / Smartphone Reader – This project will update existing farebox equipment to accommodate real-time exchange of data necessary to validate a regional or national fare card. Includes upgrades to the fare system to be able to use Smartphone application in the payment and receipt of fare revenue.
- New PVTA Facilities – This project will encompass the deployment of electronic berthing signage, computer systems, customer information technology, telco systems, video and security, and operation technology equipment for the following anticipated new operations and maintenance centers:
- Union Station
- New PVTA Maintenance Garage
- UMass Transportation Center
- Westfield Transit Center
- Northampton Transit Center
- Emergency Operations Center - The PVTA EOC project will deploy mirrored systems between the PVTA main offices in Springfield and the UMass RTIC offices in Amherst. These mirrored systems will allow PVTA to continue operations with little to no interruption in case of emergency resulting in loss of the Springfield operations and dispatch centers. In such an emergency, PVTA could move personnel to Amherst and continue to operate from the UMass RTIC center.
- Virtual Office – The PVTA Virtual Office project is tasked to provide PVTA and key operational staff with 24x7 remote access to all forms of work product (voice and data) without regard for geographic location.
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