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U Minnesota Brings Real-Time Transportation Tracking to the Public

Riders of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus bus system can now find out when their bus is expected to arrive, thanks to new route-predicting technology.

Each of the 24 buses in the fleet now has hardware installed that tracks its location and reports that information to the fleet-tracking system, and each bus stop has been assigned a two-digit stop number. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors can call or send a text message with their two-digit stop number to hear the next three predicted arrival times at that stop. Alternatively, they can visit the university's Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) Web site to view a real-time tracking map of the campus, along with the location of the campus buses, and click on a stop to see the next two predicted arrival times for that stop. Selected bus stops also have new electronic signs that inform riders of the next three predicted arrival times for that stop.

The university's PTS department had the system installed this spring and tested it throughout the summer. In addition to the tracking hardware on the buses and electronic signs at select stops, they also installed new signs at all stops that display the bus stop number, the tracking system phone number and texting information, as well as a QR code that people can scan with their smart phones using free QR code scanning software, which takes them to the PTS fleet tracking Web site.

The university installed the route-predicting technology to make it easier for people to get to and around campus and to encourage use of alternative modes of transportation.

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus is located in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area and serves over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The campus bus system serves over 3.7 million riders each year.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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