RFID Makes Olympic Bus Program a Winner

Vancouver, Canada, will be hosting the world during the 2010 Winter Olympics. In Vancouver, transportation plays a crucial role in day-to-day commute, and will be indispensable in conveying large numbers of Olympic athletes and spectators to various venues. Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) provides the primary public transit system in Vancouver and surrounding communities. Ensuring their transportation system runs efficiently and effectively is a top priority for CMBC in supporting the Olympics and its guests.

To attain world-class transportation levels, CMBC is embarking upon many performance initiatives including the enhancement of its strategic asset infrastructure with RFID technology.

"RFID technology will allow us to manage the complete asset performance by providing valuable information that leads to better decision making," said Jeff Vogstad, client solutions team manager, Coast Mountain Bus Company.

With CMBC, the pilot project scope included tracking of 215 buses, fare boxes and cash boxes, independently and in association with each other. It was important for CMBC to monitor these mission-critical assets throughout the cycle of receipt in inventory, placement into service, removal from service for repair and maintenance, and return to inventory for active service. In addition, fare and cash box assets currently in an active service state would be monitored and tracked at regular intervals as each bus delivered its fares to the "Fare Box/Cash Hut" at the end of its service rounds.

"The challenge for us was to tag a stainless steel cash box which is located inside a fare box and be able to read the RFID tag from 10 meters," said Vogstad. "Identec Solutions proved this could be done."

After the site survey and education session, the proposed solution was detailed. As often happens at this point, CMBC came back with a more complex requirement. They chose to reduce the number of sites for reader infrastructure while increasing the number of different types of assets that were to be tagged and associated. This new requirement was dealt with in advance of pilot deployment and the success criteria were reset accordingly.

"We knew from the beginning that there was a potential to collect huge amounts of data but we kept our focus on the key data elements that would support our milestones. Once the milestones are met, the endless possibilities for this new-found information will be evaluated with enthusiasm," said Vogstad.

Source: Identec Solutions

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