To All Commissioners
Re: IT Update
That the report be NOTED and FILED.
The following report provides an update on the various IT projects currently underway.
Fully Hosted Smart Card Implementation
Cloud hosted systems and the web portal continued to run smoothly through the peak pass sales period in late January and early February, further boosting LTC’s confidence in the stability of the system overall. Meetings identifying issues standing in the way of using stored value continued in February with an additional meeting aimed squarely at a roadmap to project completion between vendor and LTC principals is scheduled for early March.
Specialized Service Scheduling/Dispatching System Implementation
The customer-facing improvements of Phase II were tested further in February and new issues were identified and resolved. Changes to the Bell mega link configuration aimed at resolving some hand- off issues were slow in coming but were completed in mid-February. Phone, web and app access for cancellation and checking of trips and automatic phone notification features are ready for use.
A communication package outlining the new features and step-by-step directions to sign up for alerts will be direct mailed to all specialized service customers in the coming week. In addition, posters will be placed on all specialized vehicles alerting customers to the availability of the new features.
Phase III of the software implementation will be undertaken as soon as feasible, once customers are engaged and using the new Phase II systems successfully.
LTC Website Update
LTC’s new website was successfully launched on the evening of Monday, February 19, 2018. As planned, the new site was launched in conjunction with the real-time information system that is part of the Automatic Vehicle Location/Communication (AVLC) system upgrade (see details below). The launch of the new site and real-time features were communicated over several mediums and was generally well received.
As planned, corporate LTC Facebook and Twitter social media accounts were also put into use starting the morning of February 20, 2018. At time of report writing, the LTCLdnOnt Twitter account had 218 followers, with the majority of dialogue relating to questions/concerns with the new InfoWeb system.
AVLC Update Project
Go-live of the AVLC Update went ahead as scheduled on Family Day weekend, February 17-19, 2018. Given this upgrade impacted the system that is utilized to allow for communication between Dispatch and Operators as well as the schedule information on the mobile data terminals on the bus, it was critical that the core systems be upgraded through the night and up and running prior to the beginning of Saturday service. As such, the implementation team, consisting of staff from IT, Operations, Planning, and Fleet & Facilities as well as a representative from Trapeze worked through Friday night to ensure a successful implementation and all buses went into service without any major issues with full communication and Dispatch tracking working well.
The AVLC update successfully got all servers moved into a modern VM (virtual machine) environment and updated the software on LTC workstations and vehicles to the most recent stable versions.
Most new features of the new system were implemented without issue, but as is often the case with complex systems, some issues were discovered after the move from the test environment to production.
The following list of features includes notes on their status.
- ability to search for stops and routes near an address or landmark – complete
- real-time schedule will have the ability to notify passengers if specific stops are closed due to construction – incomplete
- customers can sign-up for service alerts notifications either by route or by stop – complete
- customers can sign-up for next bus alerts for specific stops at a specific time each day so that they can see in real-time when the bus will be arriving at their location- i.e. if they always leave work at 4:30 pm they can sign-up for next bus alerts at 4:30 pm for stop ‘X’ to notify them when the next three buses will arrive at that stop – complete
- service alerts will be available on the website for all routes, regardless if you have signed up for email alerts or not – incomplete
- service adjustments (detours, etc.) will be automatically posted to LTC social media feeds –incomplete (noting that while the automatic posting is not functional, all detours and service interruptions are being communicated via the corporate twitter account manually)
- ability to know if the information is real-time or scheduled as all real-time information will have a transmitting icon beside the bus times – complete
- closed stops will have times crossed-out on the interactive schedules to notify passengers the bus will not be serving the stop – incomplete
- IVR (telephone) real-time systems – incomplete (issues with respect to the sharing of real time information between the AVLC system and the IVR system have arisen which will result in a delay in the IVR system coming back online. Representatives from Trapeze are working on a solution at time of report writing).
- improved head sign management/accuracy for riders which includes the ability to have the system look ahead to the next pattern so that it can change the destination signs on the bus at more appropriate locations – complete
- enhanced features which allow Dispatchers to enter detour information as it is happening, triggering alerts for customers – incomplete (alerts for customers not triggering)
- IDS (Interactive Decision Support) will guide Dispatchers through incident handling using consistent, well defined best practices – software complete, first use / training scheduled for early March
All incomplete items are being pursued aggressively and are expected to be resolved shortly. Most InfoWeb issues are expected to be resolved all at one time.
Prior to the AVLC upgrade, third party application developers utilized the WebWatch pages to pull real time information. With the change to InfoWeb, this process was no longer functional, resulting in third party apps going offline. Administration is working with Trapeze in an effort to assess real time feed options going forward. In an effort to assist customers who had currently relied upon third party apps, a short video has been posted on LTC social media which demonstrates to users how to create a shortcut for their specific stop. This shortcut mitigates the need to navigate to the InfoWeb through the LTC website, and provides real-time information for the desired stop in as few as two clicks.
Patrick Cormier – Manager of Information Services
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny – General Manager