This month, Duke community members will be able to keep tabs on buses along all of Duke's transit routes online or through a mobile device.
Duke has worked with TransLoc (pronounced trans-loak), a Raleigh-based technology company, to install GPS systems that provide real-time location data on Duke buses. With the beta phase launching soon in January, students, faculty, staff and visitors can see a Duke bus at any of the 113 bus stops on and around campus.
"This is going to provide a great opportunity for people to see where buses are at any point in time in our system, literally down to the second as they move," said Sam Veraldi, director of Parking and Transportation Services. "The system offers us a tremendous amount of efficiency by letting us and our passengers know where vehicles are and where they'll soon be."
By using TransLoc, riders are able to access real-time information from a computer or mobile device - apps are available for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Users can also use text messages to locate buses. Duke's TransLoc map will also have the capability to post messages, so if an accident slows or alters a bus route, riders will be alerted as the change happens.
But the new system won't only benefit riders. Veraldi noted TransLoc will help Parking and Transportation services become more efficient in day-to-day operations, allowing review of arrivals and departures and better gauge the need for potential future route adjustments.
"The predictability and reliability that TransLoc offers is big," Veraldi said. "By studying our route times and passenger loads, we'll be able to better evaluate our services going forward."
GPS systems were installed on all 28 Duke buses, which includes eight new buses that joined the fleet this week. In addition to a tracking capability, buses are being outfitted with automated passenger counters, allowing Parking and Transportation to collect accurate counts of riders coming on and getting off a bus.
Brian Williams, Duke's transportation demand management coordinator, said the addition of real-time tracking system is valuable for Duke commuters because it makes taking a bus the easiest way to get around campus.
"This takes any uncertainty out of riding a bus," Williams said. "Being able to track our buses will put time back in the day of students and employees because they won't have to worry about showing up early or late for a ride when they know exactly where our vehicles are at all times."