June 18, 2012

Real-time bus schedule app gets fed funding

Tiramisu Transit LLC, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff, received Small Business Innovation Research Phase I funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to commercialize Tiramisu, the smartphone application that enables transit riders to create real-time information about bus schedules and seating.

The $102,000 award, through the Federal Transit Administration and its Research and Innovative Technology Administration, will be used to identify sustainable business models for crowd-sourced transit information systems.

Tiramisu has been in use in Pittsburgh since the summer of 2011 and is available for iPhone and Android phones. Thus far, users have recorded more than 30,000 trips on Port Authority of Allegheny County buses and trains.

Tiramisu — literally, Italian for "pick me up" — was developed by researchers in the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT), supported in part by CMU's Traffic21 initiative.

Tiramisu is a project within the RERC-APT, a federally funded collaboration between Carnegie Mellon and the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, focused on the transportation needs of people with disabilities and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

In addition, the project has received support from Carnegie Mellon's Traffic21 initiative, IBM, Google and the SINAIS project, a joint research project between Carnegie Mellon and the University of Madeira on increasing sustainability.

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