Public Facing Features

myStop® is the Registered Trademark name of myAvail’s internet and smart phone public information distribution features. myAvail also provides a subscription-based SMS (Text messaging) service, an email alert system, an Interactive Voice Response feature for use with a conventional phone (cellular or land line) and several options of electronic signage that can display real-time information. In addition to the real-time messaging capabilities, myAvail provides a method to schedule announcements that have been recorded and distributed to vehicles in advance to play to the ridership at a planned interval and for a planned duration.

Public Messaging Interface

The interface to distribute public information is myAvail’s “Public Messages” feature. This portal allows an authorized user to place a message to your ridership through all available myAvail communication channels:

  • Webpage Public Service Messages
  • Smart Phone (iPhone and Android) Public Service Messages
  • Subscription SMS (Text messages) Service
  • Facebook postings
  • Twitter
  • LED Electronic signs
  • LCD Electronic Signs
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • In-Vehicle Recorded Announcements

To see detailed instructions for the Public Messages window please consult the myAvail Users Guide.

NOTE: After publishing the message, users must edit the content, the expiration date and time.
NOTE: Users can only schedule announcements that have already been prepared and imported into myAvail. See Announcements. In addition, the announcements must be downloaded to the vehicles. See Bulk Download GUI, an Avail Developed Application.
NOTE: The MDT must be logged on to play a scheduled announcement or Ad hoc announcement assigned by other than vehicle ID.

If after the start date and time of an announcement the user decides to cancel the announcement, the user must do so by changing the Date or Time range, to display the message however this change will take effect on vehicle registration. Therefore, any vehicle that has already registered with myAvail, will continue to play the announcement until the vehicle registers again such as with a new operator log on.

Stop Request announcements and ADA Stop announcements will interrupt a scheduled public announcement.

myStop® Features

The myStop® webpage has a responsive design that allows it to adjust screen resolution automatically from a full-size monitor to a smart phone. The iPhone and Android applications share all the features of the myStop® webpage with additions however, they must be granted access to the GPS/location features of the smart phone to make full use of all features. The iPhone and Android applications are common to all properties. The application loads the last property selected by default. When the application presents all available transit properties, the list displays the closest properties first. The application requires the Avail “Gateway” service to determine the correct data stream based on the user’s selection. For an overview of the myStop® features, see Public Communication Infrastructure.

NOTE: myAvail provides a REST Endpoint access to a General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) real-time data feed. This feed is used by myAvail for some models of electronic sign displays, the web page, and for Google trip planning. In addition, to these internal uses, the property is free to allow third parties to access this feed for custom purposes. See GTFS for how to update GTFS data.

The myStop® features list includes:

  • Features common to all platforms
    • The ability to select one or more routes to display
      • The route trace on a map
      • All stops on the selected routes
      • The current real-time location of any vehicles currently servicing the selected routes
    • The ability to search for a stop by name and/or stop number
      • If one or more routes are selected, then the search is only for stops on those routes. If no routes are selected, then the search is through all stops
      • Selecting a stop in the list will present the user with the next three departures for that route and all other routes that pass through the stop
    • The ability to do “Trip Planning”
      • This is a feed to Google Transit trip planning
    • The ability to set a one-time email alert by selecting
      • A Route
      • A direction
      • A stop
      • By selecting a departure time range
      • A number of minutes before expected departure time
      • An email address to send the alert to
    • The map display options include
      • Showing a conventional line map
      • Showing a Satellite view map
      • Showing all stops on the selected routes or only published stops
      • Show traffic delay indicators
  • Features available only with the mobile implementations
    • The ability to identify the closest stop
  • Features available only with the full webpage implementation
    • The ability to subscribe to an alert and messaging service
      • Provide a verified email account
      • Optionally provide a first and last name
      • Optionally provide a phone number
        • This is required if SMS notification is desired
      • Accept to receive Public Announcements
      • Accept to receive Route specific announcements
      • Set quiet times when messages are blocked
      • Select the method of notification (email or Text Message)
        • A verification is needed if Text notification is requested
NOTE: Having a subscription account and being logged in changes the one-time alerts to allow notification by text message and to set repeated reminders.

SMS Features (Text Response System)

In addition to the subscription alert process described in myStop® Features, there is the ability to text a property code and stop number to a specific “short code” number, which is 321123 for all properties to receive a return text of the next departure times for the requested stop. This text message process requires the “Gateway” service to resolve which data stream to access, which is an Avail service.

The other consideration is the need to provide information about this service to your ridership. They need to know the following:

  • The 321123 short-code
  • The property identifier
  • The stop number

Providing the stop number is most often accomplished by replacing or adding a second sign at every stop. The planning of this significant task needs to begin long before this feature is implemented.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Features

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an alternative method to access real-time stop departure times for your ridership that uses a conventional cellular or landline telephone. These riders may have very limited access to the internet, a smart phone or SMS text messaging to access real-time stop departure times.

The rider calls a specific number then using either the stop ID entered through the dial pad or through a selection tree, identifies a stop to receive the next departure times for all routes passing through that stop. This option is for Fixed Route service.

Important considerations include:

  • Evaluate if the current PBX will support the additional phone lines needed and will support the necessary connections to the IVR server.
    • The number of phone lines needed depends on the number of concurrent calls expected.
    • The ability to transfer from IVR directly to an operator. This ability requires additional rollover phone lines, as the ability to transfer to the operator ties up a second line for the duration of the call.
  • Deciding what number will the ridership call. A decision is needed to either modify the current call tree to add a selection to go to IVR or to establish a dedicated number for IVR.
  • Providing the stop number to your ridership. As with text messaging, providing the stop number is most often accomplished by replacing or adding a second sign at every stop. The planning of this significant task needs to begin long before this feature is implemented.

Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) Electronic Signage

myAvail supports LCD electronic signage and two formats of LED signs. There are a few common considerations on the placement and connectivity of these signs. All these signs need a standard 120v electric power source, with solar power a viable source for the LED signs. The signs should have a power disconnect located near the sign. The signs also need a network connection which can be wired or cellular.

NOTE: The bandwidth required for any given sign depends on the amount and type of data the sign displays. For LCD signs, Avail recommends using an unlimited data plan when using a cellular connection.

The routes that are displayed on these signs are configured at installation. If the route structure changes, please contact Avail Support to alter the list of routes the sign will display. Using the “Signs” feature in myAvail a user with permission can enable or disable any individual sign. Examples of reasons to disable a sign would include construction that closes a stop or a hardware problem with the sign. There is also a capability to place signs in a group which allows common actions to all the signs in the group. An example of a reason to group signs would be if you have multiple signs at a transit center or along a single route and would like to be able to quickly put the same message on all those signs. Please reference Public Messaging Interface for an overview on how to place messages on signs and the myAvail User Guide for specific details. The supported electronic sign types are:

  • LCD Electronic Signs - While these signs are referred to as “LCD” they can be any form of flat screen monitor that can be connected to a computer. These signs are connected to a PC that can display a webpage. The size of these screens is limited by the available space and by cost. They are typically used for near distance viewing of detailed information. These signs by their nature have flexibility in colors and fonts presented and can display graphical information such as real time map displays of vehicle locations. The signs are also capable of displaying advertising or public service information in addition to the standard public information text line. These signs are best suited for environmentally controlled and supervised spaces. While they can be hardened for vandalism and an outdoor environment there are significant additional challenges to doing this with this type of sign.
  • Fixed format LED Signs - These signs present information in fixed lines of LED lights. The sign can have from 1 to many lines with the upper limit constrained by space and cost. The lines are typically from 1 to 3 inches in height where the letter height is determined by average viewing distance. A sign that will be viewed from less than 50 feet is recommended to be 1 inch in height with a sign that needs to be viewed from up to 150 feet would be recommended at 3 inches. These signs often include a clock and a public message line. These signs are suited for both indoor and outdoor use and can be hardened against vandalism.
  • Full matrix LED Signs - These signs have a full display area without fixed lines, which allows flexibility in how information is displayed. The size of the sign is calculated by determining the number and height of each row of information to display. These signs can also display the current time and have a public message line. These signs are suited for both indoor and outdoor use and can be hardened against vandalism.
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