COTA Launching Real-Time Bus Tracking System in 2014
COTA has set March 2014 as the target date to debut a long-awaited and highly-requested service for its users — the ability to track buses in real time from smart phones or from digital signs installed at select stations.
“This service will enable our customers to see where buses are in real-time, just like our radio-central does,” said Marty Stutz, VP of Communications at COTA.
Testing will begin this fall on the feature, which COTA hopes to introduce at the same time as a new, revamped website. The real-time information will be accessed from the website, which will be configured for mobile users.
Stutz said that the first screens (sometimes called “tickers”), will be tested at Broad and High late this year or early next. The plan is to eventually place the screens at busy stops and transfer locations throughout the system, including along the proposed downtown circulator route.
This is the second attempt for COTA at providing real-time information for their riders – in 2006 riders could track buses on their website, but that feature, which Stutz said was not as reliable as we want for customer use, was eventually removed.
In other COTA news, upgrades are planned for its two downtown terminals. The north terminal, which is on Spring Street between High and Front Streets, will receive a new enclosed waiting area while the south terminal, which is located in the Columbus Commons Main Garage, will see new signage and brighter lights. Upgrades will also be made to both terminals to accommodate new, taller, buses that run on compressed natural gas. Plans for the terminals were submitted last month to the Downtown Commission for conceptual review, and Stutz said that COTA hopes to have them both completed by Red, White and Boom next summer.
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More information can be found online at www.cota.com.
Photo via Data Display USA.