Friday January 17, 2014
TARC real-time bus arrival information for all stops is now available online through Google Maps and TARC's own trip planner, making public transit an easier and more efficient travel option.
"We're excited to be announcing this first step in getting people real-time bus arrival information online," said TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker. "These kind of tools take the guesswork and frustration out of waiting for a bus. For thousands of passengers, it will mean less time standing at a stop and more time to finish some work or grab a cup of coffee."
The real-time information is now best viewed on desktops through Google Maps and TARC's trip planner at www.ridetarc.org. Efforts are underway to make the technology easily available across all platforms. The city is challenging local app developers to use a real-time bus information datafeed to develop mobile apps and software.
"Putting the power of information into customer's hands will allow them to commute and travel smartly and more efficiently," Fischer said. "This is a progressive step forward and we must continue to think big and bold on transportation and bring even more innovation to the table."
When searching directions on Google for transit trips, TARC passengers are already provided route options, step-by-step directions, estimated travel times and scheduled bus arrival times. The addition of the real-time bus arrival information is a big step for public transit in Louisville, said Mayor Greg Fischer.
To spur innovation and maximize the benefit of the Google mapping throughout the community, the city is launching a competition for tech experts to develop new smartphone apps or other software, according to Ted Smith, Fischer's chief of innovation.
"We're specifically looking for breakthrough software or devices that harness this real-time data and use it to empower citizens to use TARC for getting out to shopping and dining areas of our community that they might not otherwise visit," Smith said.
Up to $1,000 in prize money is available as an incentive for developers. Persons wishing to participate can contact Smith at (502) 574-6803. To request access to the real-time datafeed, developers can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live Transit Updates is a service providing real-time transit updates to users of Google Maps. The real-time initiative launched in June 2011, with transit providers in San Francisco, Boston, Portland and San Diego in the U.S along with Madrid, Spain and Torino, Italy.
Both the Google Live Transit Update and the TARC real-time trip planner rely on the same datafeed with bus location information. The datafeed automatically updates bus location information every minute including adjustments for traffic and service delays. In addition to bus arrival times, TARC's trip planner includes route specific maps showing locations and movements of buses.
The new technology is part of TARC's eTran - Enhanced Transit - initiative to modernize its service over the next few years. Other eTran projects slated for later in 2014 include all-electric, zero-emissions buses to circulate downtown and electronic fare collection with "tap and go" smartcard technology.
Upgrades to the fleet, bus stops and new Park 'n' Ride locations are also included. On Jan. 27, TARC will launch a new cross-river express route on I-65 linking Sellersburg and downtown Louisville as part of the initiative.
For more information visit www.ridetarc.org