Real-time GPS tracking for the EZRide shuttle went live last Thursday, according to Information Services and Technology.
EZRide, a shuttle run by the Charles River Transportation Management Association (CRTMA) merged with MIT’s Northwest Shuttle in August to help cut costs for MIT. GPS equipment was installed in the EZRides buses on August 15, and the system was being tested these past weeks by Nextbus, the company that handles GPS tracking for MIT.
The system in which data is being generated from each bus is still “being beta tested,” according to Jim Gascoigne, executive director at the CRTMA.
“We like to go slow to go fast,” said Gascoigne. “We would rather have everything tidied up before we publicize it. You’ll be hearing from us soon. It’s been up so we can watch it, so we can make sure it works.”
All seven EZRide buses have GPS equipment installed now. At this time, one is out of service, and some of the substitute buses do not have NextBus equipment installed.
“The arrival of a spare bus dedicated to EZRide is imminent, and that dedicated spare bus will carry NextBus,” Gascoigne said.
Each EZRide bus also has a sensor to count the number of passengers that enter and exit the vehicle. This eliminates the need for the drivers to keep count.
Users can go to http://www.nextbus.com/ to see the service in action.
The update is reflected in MIT Mobile Web, which feeds the MIT Mobile iPhone application. All mobile users can go to http://m.mit.edu/shuttleschedule/ to see the live tracker.
According to The Boston Globe, on Friday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) began releasing real-time data informing riders of when and where to catch the next train. The article also says that T stations will install live displays so that riders can get up-to-date information without having to use a device with an Internet connection.
The real-time information about T times might make it into the MIT Mobile application “someday,” said Justin Anderson, the project leader of Mobile Computing at MIT.