|Data Input||GTFS, GIS shapefiles, ACS/Census, OpenStreetMap, LEHD|
|Data Output||GTFS, GIS shapefiles and database, maps, KML|
Remix is web-hosted application for planning public transit systems. It automates the process of route and schedule scenario testing, letting planners draw routes onto a map and immediately see a potential schedule and fleet requirements. This can exponentially decrease the time costs of experimenting with different scenarios. As of October 2016, 36 transit agencies in California and over 150 across the world are using Remix. These agencies range in size from just a couple fleet vehicles to well over a thousand.
- 1 How it Works
- 2 Applications
- 3 Costs
- 4 Case Studies
- 5 References
- 6 Additional Reading
How it Works
The process of route planning has typically required paper maps and work in Excel or other software packages. Remix consolidates data and analytical tools for route planning into a web interface. When an agency signs up with Remix, the company will work with them to integrate the system into the agency’s workflow.
The street network is imported from OpenStreetMap (OSM). This means that transit scenarios must be analyzed in the current street network. If street features are missing, they can be updated in OpenStreetMap.
Setting up the existing transit network
Remix employees import route info into the software using GTFS data and provide employee training. Remix identifies service spans and approximate frequencies -- average parameters describing the service abstracted from the exact imported schedule.
Variables such as operating cost per hour or mile (with costs for Saturday, peak) can be set for the agency.
Creating scenarios / editing the network
After onboarding is complete, the agency can start using Remix. New "scenarios" can be created. Each scenario can contain a different route network. Existing routes can be edited and new routes can be added. Span, frequency, and runtime can be adjusted for each route. Route alignments and stops are edited on a map. By default, Remix assumes that stops are placed every 0.25 miles. This default can be adjusted. Stops can also be deliberately placed on the map.
Measures & Outputs
Measures including the following update as the route is drawn.
Costs & resources
- Number of buses
- Operating cost per year
- Route miles
- Population within defined buffer of stops
- Jobs within within defined buffer of stops
Buffers are calculated according to "crow flies" methodology, not the street grid.
In order to better understand the impact of a route, various information layers such as population density and poverty rate can be overlaid onto the map. This helps ensure that the system is reaching the people and places it needs to, and any changes are compliant with Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, the Remix staff can create custom layers using GIS data provided by the agency — both heat maps and point data. For example, one agency in Australia created a shapefile for projected population growth to better plan for their future service area.
Remix includes a rider surrogate isochrone tool called Jane. You can put Jane anywhere on the map, select a time of day, and see how far she could travel in 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes. Jane's travel time is composed of three elements.
- Walking distance: Jane walks at 3 mph and travels linearly on the map (not on the street network). This includes from her origin to transit, between transit stops if she transfers, and from the transit stop to her destination.
- Wait time: Jane waits for half of the headway of for each transit line that she boards.
- In vehicle time: In vehicle time is determined by average stop to stop speeds based on the provided GTFS feeds.
This is helpful both for intra-agency planning and public outreach.
Title VI Engine
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents against discrimination in the provision of government services, including public transportation. A transit agency must do a Title VI analysis of any route changes to ensure that they do not disproportionately impact minority populations. This is incredibly important, but it does make it difficult for agencies to engage in major system change.
See the Remix discussion of the Title VI process using Remix.
Remix can output transit network scenarios, indicators, and visualizations in these formats:
- Excel (describing indicators)
- GTFS - Frequency-based, describing service parameters rather than an operationally-ready schedule
- Embeddable map for the web (with a mechanism to leave comments)
- Printable view
The most obvious application for Remix is in the internal planning process. Planners can use the tool to quickly model scenarios and plan anything from a simple detour on a single route to an entirely new transit system.
Remix can be used as an outreach tool. In public meetings, it can allow a presenter to give a live demonstration of possible changes to a system. The real-time cost adjustments give a clear representation of how feasible a plan is. Most people have trouble visualizing how the average citizen can interact with a transit system, so Jane has a large potential to clarify the utility of a system.
The cost for Remix depends on the scale of the agency. Contact Remix sales for a quote.
- Scenario Planning in Torrance, CA - With a very small team, Torrance Transit was unable to make significant changes to its service. Scenario planning could be a months-long process. Remix cut this down to just a few days. Using the platform, the agency was able to model the effects of consolidating service on one of its bus lines and figured out it could do so without harming the community. Once implemented, the change will save Torrance Transit over half a million dollars per year
- Collaboration in Greater Seattle, WA - Planning doesn’t just involve one agency; any project is going to have multiple stakeholders. When King County Metro was working on a 25-year plan to add 2.5 million service hours to the network, it was looking at two years of consensus-building. Using Jane to clearly demonstrate the way routes interact, the planning team cut the feedback time on iterations in half and finalized the plan in just 9 months, with 2 or 3 fewer staff than would have been necessary otherwise
- Planning for a Transit Tax in Indianapolis, IN - In November 2016, residents in central Indiana voted on a quarter-cent income tax hike to let the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization increase bus service in two counties. Remix has let the MPO clearly demonstrate where the money would go. Working entirely in-house, the organization planned 7 scenarios for 7 funding levels that they could take to public meetings. The referendum passed
- Federal Transit Administration. "Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964." 2016.
- Remix. "Taking the Heartache Out of Planning in Torrance, CA." 2016..
- Remix. "King County Metro Builds Consensus in Record Time During Long-Range Plan." 2016..
- Remix. "Preparing for a Transit Tax Increase in Indianapolis, Indiana." 2016..
- Remix maintains a blog with additional case studies, webinars, and information about product updates. The blog also has videos from Remix's annual conferences, where planners talk about the way they use the tool at their agencies.