Despite decades of experience with
automated scheduling for paratransit services, true batch optimization (i.e.,
considering all trips at once) has only advanced as drivers move from
paper-based schedules to app base schedules. Dynamic optimization requires the driver to be
working with an App-based schedule that presents the driver with 1-2 hours of
scheduled rides thereby allowing for last-minute schedule changes.
Several software vendors have developed
different approaches to dynamic optimization and their different versions are
now being implemented by scores of transit agencies in the US, Canada, and
There are two basic approaches to optimization.
On-Demand and Pre-Book.
On-demand is where the riders generally communicate
directly with the driver through an App, and schedule optimization is limited
to short term direct application to the available fleet on the day of service.
Pre-book optimization is applied to systems with large subscription demand where
the system is susceptible to significant cancellation rates, and there is
minimal daily contact with the rider. These systems remove rides on late running
vehicles experiencing unexpected traffic congestion, accidents, breakdowns,
For example, Green Bay Metro recently
retained Via, a microtransit operator and technology vendor, to manage and
operate Metro’s ADA paratransit service using both the pre-book and on-demand
optimization products. Green Bay
subsequently expanded Via’s role to use their on-demand product to improve ridership
on underperforming fixed routes.
Full implementation of dynamic
scheduling requires a ridership that is capable of communicating with the
systems. Passengers who make booking mistakes reduce the effectiveness of these
systems. A large contingent of senior passengers still prefer call centers bypassing
the app-based alternatives.