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Rochester Institute of Technology Developing Fleet Monitoring Technology

May 24, 2007

ROCESTER, N.Y. --- Rochester Institute of Technology is working with the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority on a joint research project to implement vehicle monitoring technology into public transit fleets. The monitoring system will assist the fleet in increasing energy efficiency, improving vehicle performance and increasing overall safety, the institute said. Ultimately, the project will also assist the authority in testing the effectiveness of alternative fuel use in its bus fleet. RIT's Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) is the group partnering with the transportation agency. "Rising gas prices and increased emissions regulations are placing significant pressures on our nation's large vehicle fleets," said Michael Thurston, CIMS senior staff engineer and the project's team leader. "This research effort is assisting operators and managers in more properly assessing vehicle health while also providing a tool to more accurately analyze the performance of a wide variety of technologies." "RGRTA developed an innovative route evaluation program which utilizes a 'trip scoring index' that balances customer demand with cost efficiency," said Mark Aesch, the authority's chief executive officer. "By combining the index with vehicle monitoring technology, the authority will further improve the performance of every single daily trip a bus takes." The center's monitoring system incorporates asset health management technology to collect fleet data, monitor performance and better analyze life cycle costs of the vehicles. A package of sensors is integrated into the bus's own system to more accurately assess the performance of key vehicle components and alert operators and maintenance personnel when there is a problem. The system also utilizes a Web-based, virtual common operational picture to allow managers to view bus health and location, in real time, from a remote location. A previous version of CIMS' technology, incorporated into the U.S. Marine Corps' Light Armored Vehicle, won the National Center for Advanced Technology’s 2004 Defense Manufacturing Excellence Award. "This technology provides an additional level of data and analysis that will assist organizations in making better decisions regarding fleet operations," added Thurston. "The enhanced monitoring aspect will also reduce breakdowns and enhance vehicle safety."
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