February 9, 2009

California campus unveils bus tracking system


Integrated with a new GPS-based tracking system, solar-powered marquee signs display bus-arrival times at four popular bus stops at Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, Calif. (Photo courtesy Cal Poly Pomona.)


A low-cost bus tracking system developed by a professor at Cal Poly Pomona pinpoints the location of the university’s Bronco Express shuttle buses and alerts students of their estimated arrival time.


Unveiled last month, the GPS-based system continually updates the location of the university’s six shuttle buses, which cover three routes. It then translates that data into arrival times at the 32 different bus stops on the Southern California campus.

“In the past, there always was that unknown factor. Where’s the bus? When it is coming?” said Glenn Shenker, interim director of Parking and Transportation Services. “This system is definitely going to enhance the service for our riders.” Shenker should benefit as well because the data will help his department more efficiently manage the buses, routes and schedules.

The system, called EDAPTS (Efficient Deployment of Advanced Public Transportation System), was developed by civil engineering professor Xudong Jia with $267,000 in state and federal grants and $40,000 from the university.

EDAPTS, which also counts riders, displays bus location data online, on marquee signs at four heavily frequented stops and on mobile phones. The marquee signs are powered by solar energy and are ADA compliant, providing the visually impaired with an audio announcement on bus arrival times.

Jia got involved in the project about three years ago, after listening to students complain about long waits for Bronco Express shuttles. To develop the system, he collaborated with researchers at the California Department of Transportation, colleagues from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which already had a similar system in place, and Cal Poly Pomona students.

Jia believes other transportation systems could benefit from the research project. “We could hold trainings or workshops to promote this system to other small agencies,” he said. “We could show the system and tell them how to use it.”

The online tracking system can be viewed at www.BroncoShuttle.com. The mobile phone data can be accessed at www.broncoshuttle.com/mobile.aspx.

 

 

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