Chapter 3. Cost Estimates

3.1 Transit Agency Sample Data

The cost estimates of the proposed change to the transportation vehicle accessibility guidelines regarding stop and route announcements are based on sample data for the 7 transit agencies listed in Table 4 that do not currently provide automated announcements.  Data for each of the transit agencies is presented in Appendix B, and the sample data used to estimate the costs is presented in Table 5.

Table 5: Transit Agency Sample Data
Buses Available for Annual Maximum Service 273
Fixed Bus Routes 70
Garages 5
Vehicle Operators 520
Mechanics 124

3.2 Cost Factors

The factors used to estimate the costs for providing automated stop and route announcements are presented in Table 6.  The factors include one-time costs to equip new buses and to set-up backend systems for implementing automated announcements, and on-going maintenance and operation costs for the bus equipment and backend systems.  Mid-life software upgrade costs for the bus equipment and backend systems are listed as separate factors.  Training costs for vehicle operators and mechanics are included under one-time costs.  Low and high cost scenarios account for variable that can affect some of the costs.  Some of the low cost scenarios apply to transit agencies that deploy automatic vehicle location technology.22  Four (4) of the transit agencies that do not currently provide automated announcements deploy automatic vehicle location technology.23

Table 6:  Costs Factors
ItemCostDiscussion

Source:  Estimates are based on discussions with transit agencies and vendors.  Labor cost sources are listed in Appendix C.

Notes:
  The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, Transit Authority of River City, Central New York Regional Transportation Authority, and San Diego Metropolitan Transit System equip their buses with GPS receivers.

One-Time Costs
Bus Equipment
Onboard Processor
Next Stop Annunciator
Cables & Brackets
Equipment varies from vendor to vendor.  Some systems have integrated system controllers, and other systems have separate next stop annunciators.
Low Cost Scenario:  $2,350 In the low cost scenario, the transit agency deploys AVL technology and equips its buses with onboard processors, which can be mobile data terminals.  The additional cost for next stop annunciators with automated voice announcement software is estimated at $2,350 per bus.
High Cost Scenario:  $5,000 In the high cost scenario, the cost for an onboard processor with automated voice announcement software is estimated at $5,000 per bus.
GPS Receiver $820 Four (4) of the transit agencies that do not currently provide automated announcements equip their buses with GPS receivers.  There is no cost for these transit agencies.
WLAN Adapter & Antenna Low Cost Scenario:  $0 In the low cost scenario, the transit agency currently deploys AVL technology and equips its buses with systems to communicate data.  There is no cost.
High Cost Scenario:  $585 In the high cost scenario, the cost for a WLAN adapter and antenna to communicate data is estimated at $585 per bus.
Interior LED Display Sign for Stop Announcements Low Cost Scenario:  $0 In the low cost scenario, the transit agency equips its buses with interior display signs for other informational purposes (e.g., to announce “Stop Requested” or “Please Exit Using Rear Door”).  There is no cost.
High Cost Scenario:  $650 In the high cost scenario, the cost for an interior LED display sign to announce stops is estimated at $650 per bus.
External Speaker for Route Announcements $50 The existing guidelines require buses to be equipped with public address systems and internal speakers for stop announcements.
Backend System
Software & Hardware $50,000 The cost includes global information system (GIS) software, announcement database software, recording and editing software, and computers and related hardware.
WLAN System Low Cost Scenario:  $0 In the low cost scenario, the transit agency deploys AVL technology and has established backend systems to communicate data.  There is no cost.
High Cost Scenario:  $43,700 per garage In the high cost scenario, the cost for a WLAN system to communicate data is estimated at $43,700 per garage.  The cost includes 7 WLAN access points per garage ($4,600 per access point); Cat6 or fiber wiring ($5,000); and WLAN firewall equipment ($6,500 per garage).
Stop Database Consolidation & Geocoding Labor Costs Low Cost Scenario:  $0 In the low cost scenario, the transit agency has a current stop database and geocoded locations for the stops.  There is no cost.
High Cost Scenario:  $1,000 per route & $2,000 for data base set-up In the high cost scenario, the cost to consolidate the stop database and geocode locations for the stops is estimated at $1,000 per route, plus $2,000 to set-up the data base.
Announcement Database Set-Up Labor Costs Low Cost Scenario:  $35,625 In the low cost scenario, the transit agency has up-to-date operator call sheets that can be readily entered into the announcement database.  The announcement database set-up costs involve full-time work by an IT/GIS specialist and quarter-time oversight by an IT project manager during a 3 month period.
High Cost Scenario:  $83,125 In the high cost scenario, the transit agency re-evaluates what stops to announce, and incurs additional labor costs in transferring data from the scheduling database (e.g., HASTUS) to the announcement database because the database schemas do not match exactly.  The announcement database set-up costs involve full-time work by an IT/GIS specialist and quarter-time oversight by an IT project manager during a 7 month period.
Recording & Editing Labor Costs $500 The stop and route announcements must be recorded and edited, and the recordings must be entered in the announcement database.
System Testing Labor Costs Lost Cost Scenario:  $2,100 In the low cost scenario, the stops that are announced are few or highly separated, and minimal system testing is required to ensure that the geofences do not overlap or conflict.  System testing involves 40 hours work by an IT/GIS specialist.
High Cost Scenario:  $6,300 In the high cost scenario, a high density network of stops is announced, and every route is tested to ensure that the geofences do not overlap or conflict.  System testing involves 120 hours work by an IT/GIS specialist.
Training
Vehicle Operators $23 per vehicle operator All vehicle operators receive one hour training on using automated announcements.  Refresher training can be incorporated in the transit agency’s training program at minimal cost.
Mechanics $31 per mechanic Ten (10) percent of the mechanics receive one hour training on repairing automated announcement equipment.
On-Going Operations & Maintenance Costs
Bus Equipment
Spare Parts 5 percent of the total bus equipment costs The estimate excludes the interior LED display signs because transit agencies and vendors report that the signs rarely fail or need repair.
Repair Labor Costs $10 per bus annually Transit agencies reported the number of equipment failures per week for automated announcements and the total number of buses operated by the transit agency.  The average weekly equipment failure rate per bus was 0.3 percent.  The average repair time for each equipment failure was 2 hours.  The bus equipment repair cost is estimated at $10 per bus annually [.003 average weekly equipment failure rate per bus x 52 weeks x 2 hours per repair x $31 mechanics labor cost].
Backend System
Periodic Scheduling and Routing Updates & Hardware and Software Maintenance Labor Costs $35,000 annually Performing operations and maintenance tasks on the backend system involves work by an IT/GIS specialist 1 month per quarter, or 4 months per year.
Mid-Life Software Upgrade
Bus Equipment $145 per bus
Backend System $1,419

3.3 Transit Agency Sample Costs

The low cost and high cost scenarios for a transit agency to provide automated announcements based on the transit agency sample data in Table 5 and cost factors in Table 6 are presented in Appendices D and E, and summarized in Table 7.24  It is assumed that the transit agency will replace one-twelfth of its buses each year based on the 12 year minimum useful life policy for large, heavy-duty buses established by the Federal Transit Administration.25

Table 7:  Transit Agency Sample Costs
CostsPresent Value (3%)*Present Value (7%)*
* Present value is based on discount rates in OMB Circular No. A-94.
Low Cost Scenario
Total Costs Over 12 Year Bus Replacement Cycle $1,263,303 $1,062,642 $865,532
Annualized Costs $105,275 $88,554 $72,128
High Cost Scenario
Total Costs Over 12 Year Bus Replacement Cycle $2,710,266 $2,317,076 $1,927,819
Annualized Costs $225,856 $193,091 $160,652

3.4 Total Costs

The total costs of the proposed change to transportation vehicle accessibility guidelines regarding stop and route announcements for the seven transit agencies that do not currently provide automated announcements based on the transit agency sample costs in Table 7 are presented in Table 8.26

Table 8:  Total Costs for Seven Transit Agencies That Do Not Provide Automated Announcements
CostsPresent Value (3%)*Present Value (7%)*
* Present value is based on discount rates in OMB Circular No. A-94.
Low Cost Scenario
Total Costs Over 12 Year Bus Replacement Cycle $9,548,280 $8,027,897 $6,534,112
Annualized Costs $795,690 $668,991 $544,509
High Cost Scenario
Total Costs Over 12 Year Bus Replacement Cycle $19,678,022 $16,809,905 $13,970,121
Annualized Costs $1,639,835 $1,400,825 $1,164,767