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Center Identification Number: 415-07

Project Title: Third National Conference on GIS in Transit

Co-Principal Investigators: 

Martin Catalá, Research Associate 

Amber Reep, Research Associate


Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL 33620-5375
Tel: (813) 974-3120
Fax: (813) 974-5168

I. Project Objective

The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida will conduct a national conference on current and potential use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in transit applications. The conference will focus on various issues related to the application of GIS in planning, operation, marketing and maintenance of public transit. The target audience will include transit agencies; federal, state and local agencies providing financial and technical support for transit services; planning and engineering consulting firms; university researchers; GIS software vendors; and other interested parties. The conference format will be highly interactive in order to facilitate the maximum exchange of information, ideas, concerns and issues.

II. Project Abstract

GIS has the potential for significantly increasing the quality of urban transportation planning while reducing the cost of data collection and analysis. GIS offers an opportunity for transit agencies and local planning organizations to share and use each other's databases in a cost-effective manner. GIS is being used by a growing number of transit agencies and MPOs. The net impact of GIS applications is to enhance customer service and improve service delivery through more efficient planning and analysis. Specific applications of GIS include:

  • Transit analysis (ridership forecasting, service planning, market analysis) 
  • Map product design and publication C Asset management (fixed facilities, real estate) 
  • Measuring transit investment impacts C
  • Station area development opportunity analysis 
  • Customer information services 
  • Transit scheduling and run-cutting 
  • Visualizing and communicating planning results to the public and decision makers

The potential for more effective application of GIS in transit can be best realized by sharing experiences among current and possible future users. While some networking takes place between transit agencies and MPOs, a forum for systematic discussion of issues, benefits, and problems offers an opportunity to accelerate and update the exchange of information which can lead to more widespread and efficient use of GIS in transit applications.

The Third National Conference on GIS in Transit would bring together representatives from transit systems, planning agencies, and the research and technology development communities to share experiences, perspectives, and views on this subject. Among the topics proposed for the conference are:

  • Current GIS applications in transit 
  • Benefits and limitations of GIS 
  • Organizational environment and structure for GIS C Data integrity and management 
  • GIS software for transit applications 
  • Compatibility of GIS software 
  • Training needs for implementing and maintaining a transit GIS 
  • Types and sources of spatial data

The conference format will be developed to include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Speakers addressing both policy and technical issues 
  • Sessions on specific GIS applications in the transit industry 
  • Panel discussions on a selection of the topics listed above 
  • Workshops and/or training sessions on particular topics 
  • Vendor demonstrations of various GIS software packages

Transit industry applications of GIS have expanded greatly over the past three years. More agencies are using the technology, and it is being used for a broader range of purposes. New software packages are making GIS more user-friendly and are lowering costs. This conference will provide an opportunity to share new technology, applications and approaches. Planning, developing, marketing, and conducting the conference, and carrying out post-conference technology transfer activities are outlined in the work scope below.

III. Task Descriptions

Task 1: Define Conference Scope and Solicit Sponsors

This task will more precisely define the conference scope of activities and will include follow-up phone interviews with presenters and selected attendees from the 1998 conference. Sponsors will be solicited to lend professional endorsements and support for the conference. A conference steering and oversight committee will be organized.

Task 2: Conference Planning

CUTR faculty, with input from the steering committee, will define conference topics, select formats, and solicit papers, presentations, panelists and key speakers. A detailed conference agenda will be prepared and facility and technology support requirements determined. A marketing strategy and a marketing program will be developed. Preliminary plans will be made for technology transfer of conference results.

Task 3: Market the Conference

The main thrust of this task will be the dissemination of information to potential attendees. Various activities contained in the marketing program will be carried out during this stage. Attempts will be made to reach the largest possible number of potential beneficiaries. Distribution of registration materials will be included as a part of the marketing activity. Responses tied to an early-bird discounted registration fee will allow for more precise determination of facilities and support materials needed.

Task 4: Conduct the Conference

This task will focus on the actual conduct of the conference from arrival and registration of attendees, through all conference activities, to collection of materials for preparation of conference proceedings. Specific activities included in this task will be to:

  • Prepare registration materials and conduct registration of attendees 
  • Finalize local arrangements for meeting rooms, breakout sessions, vendor space, conference meals and reception, registration area, audio-visual equipment, audio and video tape recording, press materials, etc. 
  • Coordinate with hotel/meeting center staff for food and beverage service
  • Monitor conference space and activities during all events
  • Provide support services for conference presenters
  • Manage all conference sessions and events

Task 5: Conference Proceedings

Participants will be asked to provide electronic versions of items to be assembled and displayed on a CUTR hosted Conference Proceedings Web site. Abstracts, papers and presentations (PowerPoint or similar) will be collected and integrated into electronic final proceedings. The graphic rich multicolor content of GIS presentations and papers is not conducive to paper proceedings.

Task 6: Prepare a Final Report

A final report will be prepared outlining the events from concept development, through actual conduct of the conference, to preparation of the Proceedings and any other technology transfer materials. The report will also evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the conference, and suggests improvements for subsequent conferences on this topic.

IV. Student Involvement

Graduate students from the University of South Florida will be employed to assist in the development of the conference agenda, preparation of registration materials, conduct of the conference and preparation of the conference Proceedings and other technology transfer items.

V. Technology Transfer Activities

The results of this project will be contained in the conference Proceedings. Audio tape recordings of the Conference are another technology option that will be considered. Presentations of conference results and conclusions will also be made at appropriate APTA, AASHTO and TRB meetings.

VI. TRB Keywords

GIS, Transit, Conference


National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · · Comments: