A bus stop inventory refers to a database that identifies all of the bus stops in a transit system and includes data on attributes such as GPS coordinates, side of street, amenities, and passenger activity. Bus stop inventories are used to determine how well areas of interest are served by transit, tracking the conditions of amenities, assessing ADA compliance, etc. With the advent of ITS/APTS technologies, it makes it even more important for transit agencies to keep an up-to-date inventory of bus stop data. To implement APTS projects such as an internet trip planner, AVL, and automatic voice annunciation systems, an accurate bus stop inventory is a necessity. However, most transit agencies do not have a bus stop inventory that can adequately support APTS applications, while some have no inventory at all.
The traditional methods of collecting bus stop inventory using clipboard, pencil, and paper are time-consuming, inaccurate, and difficult to update, culminating in the reluctance of transit agencies to commit resources to such an effort. The accessibility of transit agencies to an automated, affordable system that facilitates the collection and update of bus stop inventory is of critical importance. The availability of such a system will also contribute directly to the standardization of bus stop inventory in Florida. Currently, bus stop inventories are developed separately by each transit agency and do not share the same data structure, attributes, accuracy, coordinate system, software platform, etc.
With the Automated Transit Stop Inventory Model (ATSIM), the Florida DOT Transit Office, is attempting to standardize the process of collecting Bus Stop Information and provide all Florida transit systems with an easy to use system. Now in its third iteration, ATSIM includes a handheld device (PDA) with a built in camera, integrated GPS and wireless technologies and with the ATSIM software preloaded.
Other agencies, such as the Polk County Transit Planning Organization, are striking out on their own bus stop inventory projects. Polk County is also incorporating their inventory database to be accessible on the web which is the next logical step (making it useful for customers as well as the transit staff).