MCAT Innovations

MCAT Innovations
Posted on 11/19/2020
  • The MCAT “team” is focused on innovations that strengthen operating efficiency, improve business intelligence, and enhance the user experience.
  • Innovation is focused on three areas: MCAT Services, Infrastructure and Technology.
  • This brochure defines recent MCAT innovations for each of these emphasis areas.

What are the Infrastructure Enhancements?

1. Bus Stop Upgrades

In 2014, the MCAT “team” initiated an aggressive ADA bus stop upgrade program. Over time, the MCAT “team” continues to work diligently on accessibility improvements and passenger amenities, with 800 bus stop improvements to date.

a. Stop improvements are completed using an innovative procurement technique, whereby “typical” section designs are included in the construction procurement.

b. Each passenger amenity install includes passenger seating with the agency’s branding colors. Consistent bench coloring for north-south and east-west directions is beneficial for passenger travel and wayfinding.

2. Transit Station Improvements

All three Transit Stations undergo regular refurbishments and each refurbishment includes the transit agency’s distinguishing colors and system branding.

What are the Technology Enhancements?

The MCAT “team” is also innovative with respect to integrating state-of-the art technology into bus service operations:

1. (2015/16: Automatic Passenger Counters (APCs)

This system counts passengers boarding and alighting at each bus stop.

2. (2017): Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System

This system provides electronic notifications to Handy Bus/Longboat Key Shuttle clients regarding their scheduled trips and real-time alerts for bus arrivals.

3. (2018): Mobile Ticketing App

Passengers can use their mobile device to purchase single ride fares and unlimited ride bus passes, eliminating the need for cash.

4. (2018): Quantum Securement System

A new state-of-the-art automated wheelchair securement system is now available on Transit Coaches.

5. (2018/19): CAD/AVL System, MyStop App and On-Board Digital Infotainment System

This system allows riders to plan and map their trips, and receive predictive bus arrival information. The infotainment video monitors display predictive arrival times for each bus stop location, service area information, and public service announcements/educational videos.

MCAT continually utilizes innovative concepts and approaches in three areas: Service, infrastructure, and technology enhancements. These three emphasis areas are the “pillars,” that support the growth and continuing development for the MCAT transit/trolley and paratransit modal systems.

What are the Service Enhancements?

1. Service Optimization and Expansion

a. Interlining of three northern Manatee County fixed routes (Routes 1, 13, and 201): By interlining these three routes, MCAT was able to expand service to the underserved Title VI area of Rubonia to six days a week, while also providing a new direct connection to the Downtown Bradenton Transit Station for all northern county routes.

b. Enhanced Service Frequency: The accrued savings from the systemwide service optimization in 2016 serve as the Local Match for FDOT Service Development grant funding, thereby allowing MCAT to increase the service frequency to 30 minutes on the Manatee Avenue corridor, a “core network” service.

c. Enhanced Evening Service: Additional systemwide service optimization savings are also applied to enhance evening services on the other “core network” services.

2. Service Innovations

a. Staff converted an inter-county regional paratransit service into a Regional Express service connecting Manatee and Pinellas County, via I-275, now branded as the Skyway ConneXion.

b. In 2020, the MCAT and PSTA systems are working together and in so doing, established a new multi-modal on-street bus stop; and thereby furthering inter-system connectivity for the two transit systems.

3. Travel Training

This program provides the opportunity for interested persons to learn how to navigate the regular MCAT fixed-route bus system by providing personalized travel instruction. Two innovative programs emanated from this new Travel Training program.

a. The MCAT “team” initiated a monthly unlimited ride Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) fixed route bus pass program in summer of 2017.

b. An additional innovation flowing from the travel training program is the initiation of the Summer ConneXion Bus Pass program. This bus pass program provides a 90-day unlimited ride, discounted pass for student travel during the summer months.

4. Educational Videos

The MCAT “team” staff developed numerous educational videos to further the public’s understanding with respect to specific subject matter, including: Service Modifications, Travel Training, and New Technology, etc.

5. On-Demand Service Innovations

Staff initiated a new method of transit service delivery for the Town of Longboat Key by transitioning from traditional fixed route/fixed schedule transit service to a flexible door-to-door next-day reservation service for the barrier island community.

6. COVID-19 Response/Safety Initiatives

The MCAT operations and fleet teams worked together quickly to procure and install on-board Bio-Shields on every bus, provide Onboard Mask Dispensers, and each face mask is enclosed with a 5” X 8” zip lock bag. MCAT completes daily vehicle sanitizing at all Transit Stations and major transfer points, and ionizing treatments ensure that all fleet vehicles and facilities are disinfected regularly.

Download the MCAT Innovation Brochure.