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MCDOT Wins Federal Funding to Develop a Real-Time Ride On Crowd Sourcing App to Tell Transit Users ‘How Full Is My Bus?’

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 2, 2021

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has been awarded a $450,000 grant by the Federal Transit Administration to create a Ride On Crowd Sourcing System (ROCSS) application that provides real-time bus status and passenger counts for Ride On routes to the public and MCDOT’s central dispatch. The new technology is the first to coordinate with strategically placed buses to assist routes nearing capacity and offer “How Full Is My Bus?” trip planning services.


This cutting-edge project is slated to begin this fall with a pilot of users from the Montgomery County Transit Advisory Group. Rollout to all riders is projected to begin in spring 2022.


The new app will decrease bus wait times by providing additional buses instead of requiring riders to wait for the next scheduled bus. Strategically placed buses will be positioned for a quick response and can be placed on several routes within minutes to provide additional service on a bus route that is nearing capacity. ROCSS will inform the public when a new bus is being dispatched. 


For riders who may choose to seek alternative or multiple transit options, ROCSS will provide trip planning that includes other local options such as Metrorail and Metrobus. By using real-time passenger count information that updates every 20 seconds, ROCSS will increase rider confidence and reliability.


“This project will support social equity by making our buses more reliable for our residents that depend on them,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “In order for us to achieve our county's goal of reducing carbon emissions, we need to reduce the number of cars on our roads and increase the number of residents choosing mass-transit as their commuting option. By improving the reliability of our buses and cutting down on wait times, we are making transit a more attractive option for our residents.”


The grant is part of the Federal Transit Administration’s support of strategies that improve transit operations and enhance the mobility of transit users affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis.


MCDOT will be the first transit agency in the region to have this information sent to Central Dispatch to deploy strategic buses and the first to use the information to provide alternate trip planning. 


“This program will undoubtedly enhance the user experience by shortening wait times and increasing reliability as we transition back into in-person activities,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “The app will also allow for trip planning and contribute to the overall ease of public transit use.”


Ride On services remain free to all passengers—a temporary change made during the health crisis. All passengers are required to wear a face-covering to board and must continue wearing the covering for the entire time riding on a bus. All buses have a supply of face coverings for those who cannot provide their own. Buses will continue to be cleaned by the County’s Department of General Services twice daily with hospital-grade disinfectant. Bus filter and ventilation systems also are treated each night with a disinfectant.


For the most up-to-date service information, riders should follow @RideOnMCT on Twitter, @RideOnMCT on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. In addition, information is available at www.rideonbus.com, by subscribing to receive email alerts or text MONTGOMERY RIDEON to 468311.


For other Montgomery County transportation information, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, and subscribe to MCDOT’s Go Montgomery! biweekly newsletter.


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Release ID: 21-601
Media Contact: Emily DeTitta, 240-372-2282
Categories: Transportation