So. Pgh. routes added to Real Time Bus system
The Port Authority will be going live with an additional 17 bus routes in its Real Time Bus Arrival system.
Along with the routes that are already active, 25 percent of all routes are now live. In another week, another 15 routes will go live, closing in on about half of the system. The Real Time Bus Arrival system is on schedule to be complete by the end of the year.
“The real time system is a tremendous improvement in how we communicate transit information to our customers because it allows riders to have access to information, literally, at their fingertips,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “This advancement takes us into a new era and opens the door to a multitude of other improvements, all aimed at improving the riders’ experience and interaction with the Authority.”
The remaining bus routes will go live in clusters of 10-15 routes at a time about every two weeks, until all are live. The Real Time Bus Arrival System works through an onboard GPS device. The location of the bus is transmitted by a cellular modem and an antenna located on the roof of the vehicle.
The data is transmitted over a wireless network to the real time server, and then translated into arrival time predictions that are displayed on the website, and through third-party applications.
“The real time information available today is just the beginning. Today, a rider can sign up to receive automated emails that provide next-bus arrival times, but moving forward, information will provide service information more directly to riders,” said Mr. Fitzgerald. “In the future, riders will be able to receive alerts by text or e-mail, but will also be able to find information on social media, digital station screens, audio announcements, and more. This ensures that riders have the information that they need to make sound decisions about travel.”
The information from the Real Time Bus Arrival system is currently available on the Port Authority’s website at realtime.portauthority.org, as well as through three third-party applications for those using smartphones and tablets. The Tiramisu app that was developed locally at Carnegie Mellon University is one such app, and two others are also available – “Transit” and “Transit Times Plus.”
The Port Authority reports that several other app developers have requested real time information and expect that more applications will be available moving forward.