Thursday, April 12, 2012
UALR Shuttle Tracking
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock unveiled a two-route shuttle bus system earlier this year dubbed the Trojan Trolley. It's part of an effort to provide a meaningful choice besides driving on campus and in the surrounding area. The system gained a major upgrade this week with the addition of real-time GPS tracking. This link will take you to a page with a map showing the routes, the current location of the buses, and a table showing ETsA at the various stops, all updated every few seconds as you watch. I haven't confirmed on the ground yet, but it appears that they've also enabled text updates at the stops. This kind of system completely eliminates the classic bus riders' anxiety that comes from standing at a bus stop a little too long wondering if and when the next bus is going to arrive. This should greatly increase convenience and ultimately ridership.
Now, I wonder when the stewards of Central Arkansas Transit will find the funds to implement something similar for that much larger bus system. If they're able to make just a limited roll-out happen I'd suggest starting with the four lines that pass by UALR. Thanks to the Trojan Trolley tracking system there's already going to be a sizable population of people accustomed to using smart phones to access bus tracking data, and young folks in general have been willing to think outside the box and not feel confined to their cars.