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State College Company Picked by PennDOT to Help Improve Transit Systems Statewide

by on March 02, 2018 1:00 AM

A State College area company will be helping to improve operations and customer service for public transit systems across the state.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced on Thursday that Avail Technologies Inc. has been selected to implement a Fixed Route Intelligent Transportation System (FRITS) for 32 transit systems.

The technology will provide real-time service information for passengers, flexible fare payment options --including fare cards that can be used on any participating transit system in the state -- and improved transit planning, according to PennDOT.

"Avail is thrilled to be working with PennDOT and our state transit agencies to deploy the nation’s first statewide Fixed Route Intelligent Transportation System solution, which will create a common technology platform across all agencies to facilitate new operational standards and a level of operational data analysis that has never been seen before,” Avail President and CEO Dorsey E. Houtz said in a news release. “The FRITS project will be watched very closely by other states and again, Avail is thrilled to be on the team that will make PA the nation’s shining star of technology adoption in fixed route transit.”

The $35.7 million, five-year project will begin this spring, with installation expected to take place over three years. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority and Port Authority of Allegheny County are not included because they have already invested significant time and resources in their own systems.

Avail, which develops technological products for numerous aspects of the transportation industry, currently employs 92 people, including 81 at its State College headquarters. The company expects to increase its staff by 10 to 20 percent because of the PennDOT contract and other recent contracts. It also has an office in Las Vegas.

In addition to customer service improvements, the technology will assist transit systems in monitoring their vehicles' conditions, automatically count passengers boarding and leaving vehicles and create a statewide reporting database for PennDOT and transit agencies.

“The way that people use and interact with transportation services is changing, and that includes public transportation,” PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Toby Fauver said on Thursday at an event announcing the project at Avail's headquarters on Gatesburg Road. “Better data and technology ultimately improves efficiency and meets customer needs.”

CATA CEO general manager Louwana Oliva and state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff were among the other speakers at the announcement event.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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