TriMet, Google team for real-time light rail info

Posted on March 11, 2015

TriMet and Google Maps are teaming up again. This time it’s to help riders have another way to get real-time transit information based on Google’s Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) beacons deployed across Portland area MAX light rail transit stations.

The beacons are installed on TriMet’s 87 MAX light rail station platforms. As the agency tests the technology, it says they will also look to refine the design of the beacons and their placement on the platforms.

In 2005, TriMet partnered with Google as the first transit agency to release schedule and arrival data to the public. With this latest pilot, TriMet riders who have devices running the latest version of Android (5.0+, Lollipop) and have the latest version of Google Maps installed, will be eligible to receive the notifications.

“Our riders are very tech savvy, and we’re pleased to be able to offer another way to provide transit information in an easy format,” said Tim McHugh, TriMet’s chief information officer.

BLE beacons enable capable nearby mobile devices to receive useful and relevant information. Using this signal, Google Maps can automatically and seamlessly provide information that is valuable to riders, including transit schedules and alerts to their mobile devices.

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