Catching Up: TARTA Secures Grants For Technology Upgrades

Grants from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will help to make the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) a more efficient transit system, thanks to overdue technology upgrades.

TARTA has secured more than $3 million in state and federal grant funds to address several long-neglected areas of technology critical to the day-to-day business of the transit system. The funding will go to a variety of projects ranging from the way the Authority orders parts and pays bills to the way it communicates with riders to how it measures who steps on the bus.

“These are badly-needed upgrades to every facet of our system, which has suffered from years of neglect and lack of investment,” said TARTA CEO Kim Dunham. “As we catch up on these systems with improvements that most transit agencies around the nation were able to make years ago, riders will see a marked improvement made possible only by these upgrades.

“This is the next step in TARTA’s reinvention. The people who depend on public transit in Toledo and Lucas County deserve an efficient and affordable system. Changes to the technology available to us will help make that possible.”

The grants from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) cover:

  • Enterprise Asset Management software, which will greatly change the way different departments at TARTA interact with each other. This software will tie the purchases and needs of TARTA’s maintenance staff with TARTA’s procurement staff in a more efficient manner, and make it easier for all involved to track fuel needs and vehicle mileage information through Fleetwatch.
  • Digital information screens, part of a grant from ODOT meant to deter human trafficking. These screens will include displays on buses to bring awareness to human trafficking, in addition to messaging about TARTA news and events. Additional funding for the screens is from a U.S. Federal Transit Administration grant.
  • Automatic Passenger Counting sensors and systems, which will improve TARTA’s count of passengers on each bus route and give the Authority a sense of where and when riders travel. This accurate count of passengers will aid TARTA as it plans to redesign its system moving forward through the TARTA Next project.

“These grants are going to expand on the data we are able to collect and help us better determine what to do with that data,” Dunham said. “We pride ourselves on good stewardship of the taxpayer funds we receive, and these technology upgrades are going to allow us to ensure we are using those public funds in the best manner possible.”

With these upgrades and more to come, TARTA looks forward to keeping passengers informed and on their way to their way to their destinations.