Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's with the boxes on top of the buses?

We don't know the exact figure that Trimet spent to equip their buses with these Opticoms. But we do know one thing-they don't work! 
What's that thing on the Tri-Met buses? (Jack Bog's Blog)

an original funding agreement document 

Max says they were 'free'


Max said...

From the linked article (3 years ago):

I’m Jon Lutterman, and I am TriMet's project manager for on-bus technology, including the implementation of TSP (Transit Signal Priority). This system is essentially FREE to TriMet, since the money came from a City Of Portland highway grant to upgrade their signal system, and has been in use for about 10-years. The City traffic engineers realized that giving priority to buses allows more people (not just cars) to move through the intersections at a more rapid pace. Emergency vehicles, defined in Portland as Fire trucks and very few special-purpose Police vehicles, use Preemption, which changes the light to green at the earliest safe opportunity. TSP uses Priority, which grants a very limited timing benefit to buses that does not impact signal synchronization, and therefore has very short-term possible impact on cars. TSP is implemented via the BDS (TriMet's navigation system) and doesn't allow any driver interaction, which therefore prevents any possible misuse. It is illegal in Oregon for anyone to use this technology, except for emergency vehicles, unless they have received permission from the Oregon Legislature, which TriMet did. The theory of using TSP is to help prevent the “snowball” effect that once a bus becomes late it starts picking-up more passengers, which makes the bus even later. TriMet studies have confirmed that using TSP allows the buses to operate much closer to schedule and helps to prevent large deviations in actual running-times, which is a benefit to TriMet passengers, drivers, and Scheduling.

Posted by Jon Lutterman | December 24, 2009 11:12 AM

Al M said...

Free huh?
Funny my information contradicts your 'official' information.

Al M said...

Oh yea, did I mention that none of them work?

Max said...

I don't see any sources for your information, so feel free to cite the study whenever you're ready.

Max said...

Here's the study from PSU that showed that TSP did have value --

Al M said...

You know all my information comes from confidential inside sources.

My information comes from people that know the reality of what goes on inside Trimet, not the bullshit they foist on the public.

Al M said...

I looked at that study and laughed.

Al M said...

My favorite comment by you today Max is 'it was FREE!'

I love that!

Max said...

Well so far you haven't really given much information or any sources.

What exactly is your confidential internal source's claim? That the opticom / TSP is non-functional? Has no effect? Costs lots of money?

How did they arrive at that determination? What is their position at TriMet?

Seems like so far all you have is a vague unsubstantiated claim. PSU has studied this and shown them to be at least somewhat effective -- call me a cook, but I think at this point I'm going to side with the university who studied and published a paper on this topic.

... but I'm happy to hear whatever information or proof you have to the contrary.

Al M said...


they are not even being used!

Where they used? You say they were.

I drove there 15 years and never noticed any evidence that any of those boxes did a damn thing.

I can't give up source names, I have no proof.
But I tend to go with my source for accuracy.

I have very little confidence that we get any accurate information from anyone 'official' regarding Trimet.

Why would they insist on secrecy or hand picking which media should be allowed into the negotiations?

It's obvious to me, they don't anyone to know what the truth really is!

This is just another example.

Al M said...

Wouldn't it be nice if we could actually get information from Trimet without having to fill out a request for public information and then paying a tax funded institution out of our own pockets to get that information?

But we can't, because that's the way things are set up, to promote secrecy.

Al M said...

Alan Eisenberg:
I heard that it cost $60 g's per bus. Another reason for an oversight cmtte. and a new board.

Max said...

Do you really think TriMet spent ~$35M+ (60K * 575 buses) on this project without anyone noticing?

Instead of going by what someone (who incidentally has no connection to this project) "heard", maybe you should google around or ask someone who was actually involved.

They ALL say that this was funded through a regional grant. "They" being:
1) TriMet (see above)

2) The City of Portland

3) PSU


The $60K per bus figure simply doesn't make sense, and there is so much evidence to the contrary.

Seems like you (or Alan) need to provide some actual evidence rather than an "I heard." Lots of things people have heard are bogus -- just venture over to snopes, watch MythBusters, etc.

Max said...

BTW: The reason why you've never noticed this is very simple -- it's not very noticeable.

The idea is to hold the green an extra few seconds when you're running late. Or to shorten a red cycle by a few seconds to get you on your way just a little bit earlier.

... and it only happens in the City of Portland (they partnered with TriMet for the project).

Al M said...

OK! Credit where credit is due, your argument pretty much debunks the post so I put that in the post.

So you win, I guess...

Max said...

BTW: The emitter costs $1,221.

I do agree with the principal that TriMet needs more accountability, though -- just don't think this issue is a good example of that.

Al M said...

Well you got the evidence and I don't.

Al M said...

AND-just because you can get something $1221 doesn't mean that Trimet (or whoever) paid that!

This is GUBMINT!

Al M said...

Goddamn apologists everywhere i go!

Erik H. said...

There is no such thing as "free". Just because TriMet didn't have to list the expenditure on its official, general funds budget does not mean it's "free".

Clearly it had a number of funding sources, including TriMet internal funds, ODOT, City of Portland, etc.

Secondly, even if 3M gave away the equipment, did 3M install the equipment? Did 3M pay TriMet for the costs of taking revenue buses out of service? How about the costs of reprogramming hundreds of traffic signals - the City of Portland is not exactly going to let any Joe Schmoe open up their signal cabinets and start dinking around. City employees did the reprogramming. They do NOT get paid $7.25 an hour. And making changes to a traffic signal is not as simple as pushing a couple buttons - it requires engineering oversight to make sure the signal is programmed correctly.

Unfortunately TriMet is not forthcoming in providing information, and I don't sit on a buttload of cash to dole out in FOIA requests. But anyone that can fog a mirror knows that this stuff don't come cheap or free, and it's already confirmed through prior news articles (search on the internet) that much of this system, if not all of it, has been shut down and decommissioned.

Jason McHuff said...

it's already confirmed through prior news articles (search on the internet) that much of this system, if not all of it, has been shut down and decommissioned.

Links, please (and from reliable sources). The recent PSU seminar on the new BDS said that it's still working. See also this presentation

Jason McHuff said...

Also: an original funding agreement document