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Denver RTD user story
Denver RTD logo

Denver Regional Transportation District builds accessible ride logistics with Dash Enterprise

Denver RTD logo

Industries

Public Transport

Summary

  • A U.S. metropolitan transportation authority rapidly produces a ride-planning Dash application to assist passengers with disabilities on over 2,000 rides daily.
  • Developers chose Dash over legacy tools for the fast development time and custom, mobile-friendly GUIs that can be written in Python.
  • Engagement with Plotly supports the scale-out of Dash application deployments in other areas like vehicle tracking and customer complaint investigations.
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Introduction

The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) helps over three million people in Colorado’s most populous metropolitan area get where they need to go. RTD offers several web applications that make it possible for passengers to plan their transit routes. One RTD service, called Access-a-Ride, provides bus transportation for passengers with disabilities.

"Dash really accelerated our product development. It met our need to ideate and move to production quickly, getting the final product into our customers’ hands much faster than it would have with a different approach."

Systems Administrator, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Denver RTD

Challenge

IT system developers planned to deliver a customer portal for the service, but delays from an incumbent software vendor led the team to consider building the solution themselves.

Python-savvy members of the team started developing a prototype. Dash’s Python framework enabled the data-driven application to support rich, geospatial mapping to give passengers accurate views of their routes and drop-off times from their mobile devices. Importantly, because Dash is open-source, the team was able to make necessary adjustments to ensure their customer portal was accessible as per WCAG 2.x standards.

The prototype received positive feedback from management, and the team quickly moved the customer portal into production, where it would help passengers on over 2,000 daily trips. During beta testing, the portal received a lot of feedback, which the team was able to incorporate easily and quickly, often pushing out changes within the same day.

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The Access-a-Ride Customer Portal is built with Dash and provides an interactive, mobile-responsive user interface for RTD passengers in the Denver Metropolitan area.

Solution

With Dash chosen as the framework for the Access-a-Ride customer portal, other RTD developers began building Dash applications for new use cases in internal data management. By deploying Dash applications within internal operations, different teams could easily visualize and explore the wealth of data that comes with operating metropolitan transportation systems across 2,300 square miles.

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In the dispatch dashboard, late trip events are flagged in the data table, alerting dispatchers, who can then manage vehicle logistics accordingly.

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Developers enhanced the dashboard with AVL playback to visualize point-in-time vehicle tracking and facilitate research into customer complaints.

Results

These new Dash applications combine important operational data and business intelligence into interactive, multi-page views. Interactive visualizations like color-graded maps and data tables give insight down to the trip or customer level, enabling dispatchers to manage fleet logistics, investigate late trips, and explore vehicle analytics, all towards the goal of ensuring customers get to the right place at the right time.

In light of the successful launch of the Access-a-Ride customer portal and with Dash usage growing internally within RTD, Plotly continues to support the team as they develop and deploy more Dash applications within their organization.

About Denver Regional Transport

Denver Regional Transport is a U.S. metropolitan transportation authority providing public transportation for over three million people in Colorado’s most populous metropolitan area. The public agency provides services including bus, rail, shuttles, ADA paratransit services, demand-responsive services like FlexRide, special event services, vanpools, and more.

About Denver Regional Transport

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