1993-11-01

Using Proven Advanced Wiring Techniques to Make a Smart Transit Bus an Operational Reality 932966

The purpose of this paper is to document the development of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) “SMART” Bus Program that uses a distributed computer network as a electronic control system.Current bus wiring methods use an ever increasing multitude of mechanical relays, circuit breakers, and heavy wiring bundles which provide little communication between electronic subsystems.On October 20, 1992, the MTA's first SMART vehicle, a 1984 Neoplan bus, was completed. In early 1993, the two additional buses were selected for modification; the first methanol SMART bus, a 1993 TMC, and a 1989 Flxible Metro bus. The Neoplan represents the first known “SMART” mass transit vehicle released into service. As of the first week in June 1993, the Neoplan bus continues to accumulate revenue service mileage.The TMC bus was completed in April 1993 and is now undergoing extensive road testing. The Flxible bus is in the early stages of design and modification and is benefiting from the experience gained from the previous conversions. Although the MTA SMART buses have accumulated limited service miles, the experience gathered over the past year has prompted the MTA to develop bus procurement specifications which require a distributed computer control system.The I/O Corporation (I/O) located in Irwindale, California, has made LACMTA's SMART Bus project a reality. About five years ago, I/O took proven aerospace technology and adapted it to be cost effective and commercially available for mass transit vehicle applications. What they have created is a system that is changing the future of transit buses.Maintenance personnel find computer aided diagnostic systems much easier to service compared to the present unintegrated electronic control systems on buses. Operators also find the SMART Bus user friendly as the reduced size and intelligence of electronic control systems lead to benefits such as; increased space and simplicity in the operator's area, and simplified operator interface with controls.The SMART transit bus program, initiated at the LACMTA, will lead to changes that affect transit buses forever. It is certain that more companies will offer this type of control equipment as the demand for this advanced bus technology increases.

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