In early March, CTAA’s TP4A staff traveled to Chamblee, Georgia, a suburb of northeast Atlanta, to participate in a Transit Planning 4 All (TP4A) site visit hosted by the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) and their project partners; the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) and their technology partner, Spare Labs.
Over the course of two days staff spent a significant portion of the visit huddled around a conference room table learning about CPACS transit operations, discussing the details of their eligibility process, fine tuning the transition to a new mobility on-demand (MOD) ride dispatching software and witnessing the cultural and linguistic considerations that ensure the CPACS transit service is inclusive of their multi-ethic, multi-generational community. If on demand transit services aren’t difficult enough, CPACS is working to provide their services in at least 8 languages all hosted on a new ride hailing smartphone application.
Touring the service area in one of CPACS bright green vans, staff looped through the garden apartment neighborhoods of DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties. It became clear that accessing each meandering neighborhood required navigating many cul de sacs and planning for extensive drive time between pickups. These geographic challenges, in addition to variable levels of traffic, will hopefully be eased once CPACS launches its MOD smartphone app. Behind the scenes, the intelligence of the application will instantly account for drive time, current traffic congestion, and assign the ride request to an available driver based on location and vehicle size. Drastically reducing the degree of manual dispatching required each day.
Excitement and frustration are both part of the transition from planning to implementation. With each passing day, the intelligence of the ride dispatching software should improve and users will adjust to the technological learning curve, benefiting everyone in the process.