ATLANTA, GA and PHOENIX, AZ -- (Marketwired) -- 10/19/16 -- Valley Metro, the regional provider of bus, rail, vanpool and Dial-a-Ride services, received a $1 million Mobility on Demand (MOD) project grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to develop a mobile app that will integrate mobile ticketing and multi-modal trip planning information. The agency is partnering with RouteMatch Software, a transit industry technology provider, as well as Arizona State University (ASU), Lyft and the City of Phoenix Public Transit Department to create the passenger-based app.
RouteMatch is serving as a key partner to both co-develop and contribute in-kind technologies for the creation of the platform. Included in this are beacon technologies for Valley Metro's light rail and bus systems and on demand paratransit trip management technologies to facilitate mobility among riders with disabilities, especially among the visually and hearing impaired. The city of Phoenix Department of Transportation will provide the core data for vehicles, routes, and fare collection. ASU will assist with beta testing of the mobile app, as well as providing overall input. Transportation network companies will additionally participate, providing "first mile, last mile" connections from transit hubs to riders' final destinations.
"It's exciting to receive a nationally-competitive grant, which serves as seed money to build upon our Ridekick™ app that can eventually be shared with transit agencies across the U.S.," said Scott Smith, Valley Metro Interim CEO. "Alongside our mobility platform partners, we'll be adding features such as real-time information, fare purchasing and an optimized trip planner." Valley Metro will use an open data platform design to allow other public transportation agencies to use the application, adjusting it to meet the needs of their respective service areas.
Seeking to bridge the gap between public transportation systems and app-based transportation companies (e.g. Lyft, Uber), the mobile app will create a seamless and efficient travel experience for riders. Within the next 12 months, the features of the app will be completed in two phases beginning with enhancements to Valley Metro's current app, Ridekick.
Phase I will include mobile ticket purchasing and links to the mobile applications for Lyft and GR:D Bike Share reservations. Users will be able to purchase transit fare, as well as reserve a GR:D bike using a single payment method, then transition to the Lyft mobile app for a reservation allowing a rider to complete their transit trip. In addition, Wi-Fi and beacon technology between the ASU campuses in Tempe and Phoenix will allow for seamless fare validation and added safety features, such as incident reporting.
Phase II will build upon those features to include real-time data alerts of bus and light rail arrivals, on-demand reservation and cancellation of paratransit trips, and single fare payment capabilities for transit, bikeshare and ridesharing companies.
"We're thrilled to be working with such visionary teams at Valley Metro and their stakeholders to bring this innovation to transit riders and travelers in greater Phoenix," said Pepper Harward, vice president of Transit Solutions for RouteMatch Software. "It will be an inclusive application so all riders will receive a greater selection of transportation options and it provides a technology springboard to arrange multiple and more spontaneous travel modes using a single platform."
The application will be free to download on all major mobile devices and users will have the ability to create personalized accounts suitable to their needs. A recent rider survey indicates that 65 percent of Valley Metro riders use smart phone devices.
The MOD program is a new U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) initiative led by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office and the FTA. MOD is an innovative, user-friendly approach that leverages emerging mobility services, integrated transit networks and operations and real-time data to allow for safe and informed mobility options.
About Valley Metro
Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County including the planning and operations of a regional bus system and the development and operations of 26 miles of light rail. In Fiscal Year 2016, total ridership for the system was 67 million passengers. Seven high capacity extensions are planned or are under construction that will create a 66-mile system by 2034. Valley Metro also offers transit options including alternative transportation programs for seniors and people with disabilities, commuter vanpools, online carpool matching, bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Two Boards of Directors set the policy direction for the agency with the intent of advancing the regional public transit system. Get the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter or visiting valleymetro.org.
About RouteMatch Software
RouteMatch Software is a leading provider of passenger transportation technologies that help transform rider experiences and engage communities. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, GA and works with more than 600 transit agencies across the U.S. and internationally, providing quality software and award-winning customer service. A team of more than 160 professionals who are passionate about transit address industry needs such as routing, scheduling, dispatching, billing, reporting, CAD/AVL, demand response and fixed route integration, traveler information services, multi-modal mobility management, and automated fare collection. For more information, visit routematch.com.