GPS keeps track of buses
- By Nicholas Morehead
- Jun 26, 2001
A Colorado bus operator is using real-time GPS software to help keep tabs
on vehicle location.
Boulder's transportation department has hired wireless data network provider
Intuicom Inc. to fit 13 area buses with an Automatic Vehicle Location System.
The buses are run by Special Transit (www.specialtransit.org),
a nonprofit organization providing door-to-door transportation for elderly,
disabled, low-income and rural residents of Boulder. The project cost $16,000.
Intuicom's SmartGPS Tracker system uses transceivers fixed to buses to track
and pinpoint buses' locations on a central server. The server uses GPS software
to plot the buses' whereabouts in real time on a computerized map, thereby
enabling Special Transit staff members to better manage its buses.
"Intuicom's services and GPS system have increased our efficiency, reduced
our reliance on radio communications and given us better control for the
spacing of our vehicles," said Steve Blacksher, product manager at Special
Transit. "This allows our dispatchers to see right where all our buses are
on the system and for them to know where to have [drivers] slow down, speed
up or add additional capacity buses if necessary."
Smart Transit runs a fixed-route shuttle service with no set schedule, but
buses run 10 to 12 minutes apart. The system handles about 1 million passengers
"The way they were doing this before was with a dispatcher who operated
a radio and had a big static map of the town before him," said Darran Bornn,
project manager at Intuicom. "Dispatch would have to estimate where buses
were, to a certain degree based on feedback from drivers, and would plot
by hand on the map bus locations and be forced to estimate where problems
such as bottlenecks might occur."
Bornn said similar systems were operating on Denver buses and snowplows
in Los Alamos, N.M.