March 8, 2013

DCTA looks toward real-time info

Texas-based Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) board of directors recently approved a contract with Strategic Mapping for an integrated intelligent transportation system (ITS), which will provide passengers with real-time travel information.

“Where’s My Ride” will allow passengers to obtain predictive arrival information for the next bus or train at a passenger’s particular stop location via mobile application, SMS text alert, telephone interactive voice response or through the DCTA website. DCTA anticipates deployment of this product late this year.

“Where’s My Ride” will also use accurate location data provided by a global positioning device mounted inside each DCTA Connect bus and A-train railcar. That information will be integrated with the operator login information (including the route, run and destination sign code) and will then be transmitted wirelessly to a server using onboard cellular equipment. The server will integrate location and login information with schedules and map files to output predictive arrival information to the customers. Passengers can subscribe to specific routes through the system so that alerts can be auto-generated based on passenger preferences.

In addition to the “Where’s My Ride” system, DCTA has also partnered with Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority in developing “GO Pass,” a regional mobile ticketing application. The “Go Pass” application will provide passengers with an additional option to purchase their transit pass via smartphone for any of the three transit agencies in the North Texas region and is expected to go live in the fall of 2013.

“Where’s My Ride” predictive arrival and trip planning information will be integrated with the “GO Pass” application to provide passengers with the ability to plan and pay for transit trips from a single mobile application.

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