Merced Capitalizes with Optimized Route Redesign from Passenger Data

In 2012, Syncromatics launched service with Merced County Transit and set about wholesale changes to their system that generated significant improvements in service to riders and operating efficiency. Located in California’s Central Valley, Merced County Transit serves local routes within the City of Merced as well as intercity service to neighboring towns.

When Merced first launched Syncromatics, the system of routes was complicated, unintuitive, and inefficient. After using the Syncromatics system for 6 months and analyzing the data from on time performance and automated passenger counters, Merced planners redesigned their routes to align with major streets and better match rider needs. In so doing, they extended their service area by 20% without adding a single bus or driver to the system. They simultaneously increased ridership, improved on time performance, and improved customer satisfaction. Syncromatics tools helped make this improvement possible by providing intelligence about the Merced operations, and Syncromatics’ reporting tools also helped document these improvements and demonstrate the return on investment from the ITS system.


Key facts:

  • 15% increase in ridership from 2012 to 2014
  • 7% improvement in On-Time Performance
  • 300% increase in passenger use of real time information system

 

Merced's Old routes

Old routes were messy and confusing! Routes in completely different parts of town had similar names and ridership was not optimized.

The old route map.

Using data to create the best rider experience

We used real-time passenger information and automated passenger counting to see where passengers were getting on the bus and what the most popular stops were. We asked questions like:

  • Where do our riders get on the bus?
  • Where do our riders live?
  • Where do our riders work?

Heat mapping passenger data from the Syncromatics system helped point to the high traffic areas.

We assessed performance data to see where improvements could be made.

New Route Design

We used this data to create a new, smart design that optimizes ridership and decreased rider wait times. 

The proposed new route design. 

"Working with Syncromatics allowed us a unique opportunity to drive product development and see measurable results. Passengers, many of whom are City employees, have come to depend on more consistent service on all our downtown routes thanks to this deployment. The data made the difference, and our operations are now much more streamlined and   transparent as a result."  - Rich Green Transit Manager, Merced County Transit