Dynamic Routing or Scheduling is closely related to Ride Sharing and Matching, in that it often uses the same or linked software and is often employed by para-transit services so that routes can be calculated in real-time to enable ride matching to take place.
The software requires digital maps of the road network, including one-way sections and restricted turns. These need to show road widths and restrictions so that the system can calculate the shortest appropriate routes accurately – and information on road surfaces need to be maintained so that their suitability for different types of public passenger transport vehicle can be assessed.
The service requires in-vehicle devices to guide the driver and links to the control centre where the calculation of ride sharing and matching is performed,
Since schedules are re-calculated in real time - only summary and approximate advance information can be conveyed to waiting passengers. For instance, times may be shown as a ‘time window’ in which the vehicle will arrive, rather than a detailed timing.
Because of the complexity of the tasks undertaken by the software it is very important that agencies and authorities satisfy themselves that the software they are considering purchasing has been used successfully in similar environments to perform similar tasks.
The power of computing is increasing very rapidly and hence the complexity and sophistication of performance of such dynamic routing systems.
Obtaining current and accurate digital maps of the road network can be very difficult. Dual-carriageway roads in cities in developing economies may feature very long barriers between the carriageways which cannot be crossed. At the same time the barriers may be changed quickly – being removed at little or no notice in certain places to allow vehicle manoeuvres which were not previously possible. Systems and processes to guarantee the reliability of digital map data is essential if dynamic routing is to be adopted successfully.