Mangano: Nassau County Upgrading All NICE Buses With New Communications Technology

Multi-Million Dollar Contract for “Intelligent Transportation System” Featuring Integrated Communications, Control, Monitoring and Management Systems to Replace Current Outdated System; Paid for with Federal, State and County Grants

Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE bus) has signed a multi-million dollar contract with a Woodbury-based company to install a comprehensive advanced GPS-based “intelligent transportation system” on all its buses that will offer numerous integrated features designed to improve the rider experience and enhance operational performance.

The new NICE Integrated System (NIS) will be installed on NICE’s entire fleet of 300 fixed-route buses, replacing antiquated systems that date back to 1998 currently on most of the buses. The core of the NIS are Computer-Aided Dispatch and Automatic Vehicle Location systems that offer dozens of features and benefits that do not currently exist or function on NICE’s buses.

“We are pleased to be revamping the NICE fleet with state-of-the-art technology that will offer many benefits to our riders,” said Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano. “We are especially pleased that a growing, innovative Nassau County company was selected through a competitive proposal process.” The contract was awarded to Clever Devices, a Woodbury-based company whose technology solutions for public transportation are in use in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Pennsylvania and many other states.

NIS is designed to provide convenient real-time, reliable bus information and announcements to riders, including automated onboard systems for auditory and visual stop announcements to assist persons with disabilities, as well as improved information at transit centers. The new system will feature an open architecture that allows for the development of new apps, including ones that will allow riders to plan their trips with information available on their smart phones and other devices.

NIS offers many monitoring and control features that will make it possible to improve system performance, such as improving on-time performance, relieving overcrowding and bunching of buses, and detecting maintenance issues and bus breakdowns. NIS will also improve communications between bus operators and NICE’s central command center, help track customer complaints and issues, collect accurate data that is valuable in system planning, help re-route buses because of road conditions, offer training tools, and many other features.

The NIS system will include an “air traffic control” type capability that will pinpoint the exact location of every bus at all times, significantly improving NICE’s ability to respond to emergency situations such as accidents, criminal incidents and adverse weather.

“For some months, NICE has been carefully reviewing how we can install a new system that offers the advanced functionality to provide greatest benefits to our customer and the most useful management features, all with the greatest reliability at the best price,” said NICE Chief Executive Officer Mike Setzer. “We think our focus on defining what we want the system to deliver will pay off once it is installed.”

NICE spent a number of months preparing the specifications for the system and going through a Request for Proposal process. The new system is currently under design and is expected to be operating by the end of 2014. It will be paid for with an 80 percent grant from the Federal Transit Administration, with the remainder coming from New York State and Nassau County.