Syracuse University

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Cutting-edge GPS bus tracking system comes to Connective Corridor

January 21, 2011

Jaime Winne Alvarez
(315) 443-3784

Syracuse University, through the Connective Corridor, is partnering with Centro on an 18-month pilot program that will provide real-time predictive bus information for riders along the Corridor and many campus shuttle routes. The technology is called “Bus Time,” and involves a cutting-edge GPS tracking system and LED display signs on selected buses and bus stops along the Connective Corridor.

GPSCustomers will be able to wait at an equipped bus stop and receive information on exactly when their bus will arrive at that stop. Each sign will visually count down the arrival of the next scheduled bus and can provide audio announcements of the same information for sight-impaired users. In addition, 20 Centro buses will be equipped with LED signs that will visually and audibly alert riders of upcoming bus stops. At this time, Centro is testing the system, but anticipates that it should be fully functional within a month.

Other bus systems that use this type of technology include Chicago, New York City, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Richmond, Va.

“Our partnership is bringing technology to Syracuse that typically exists only in large cities,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “But most importantly, this will make it easier for students and community members to take advantage of the extraordinary cultural assets we have along the Connective Corridor, while increasing the accessibility of University Hill and promoting ‘green’ transit.”

The first round of upgrades for the program cost approximately $2.8 million. The project is being funded through $2.25 million in SAFETEA-LU grant monies from Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), along with 10 percent matches provided by both SU and the New York State Department of Transportation.

“Applying innovative technology to the bus routes along the Connective Corridor will improve public transportation in the City of Syracuse. It is just one more step in seamlessly integrating the Syracuse University community with the vibrant businesses, shops and restaurants of downtown Syracuse,” says Sen. Schumer.

“Bus Time” bus stop signs will be installed at various locations along the Connective Corridor, including The Warehouse and Syracuse Stage, along with the Schine Student Center and College Place bus shelter on the SU campus.

Eventually, riders will be able to watch their bus on a GPS tracking map on Centro’s website. The system will also allow users to receive e-mails and text messages informing them of the bus’s arrival time.

“Riders will be able to receive exact arrival times of their bus from wherever they are, whether they are at the office, dorm room or library,” says Robbi Farschman, director of the Connective Corridor. “This will encourage more people to use the bus by breaking down a potential barrier.”

Once the pilot program is completed, Centro will evaluate the technology’s effectiveness and may consider using “Bus Time” for its entire bus system.

“We live in an age where people are seeking instant and up-to-the-minute information in all aspects of their lives,” says Frank Kobliski, Centro’s executive director. “This system is in tune with the desires of our society.”

Sign locations were placed at the most frequently used stops. Centro will be working through the locations over the next couple of weeks. At the conclusion of its work on the system, signs will be in place at the following locations: Goldstein Student Center, Schine Student Center, E.S. Bird Library, College Place bus shelter, Manley North bus shelter, Manley South bus shelter, Skyhall Circle bus shelter, Winding Ridge (near Skytop Road) bus shelter and Small Road (near Lambreth Lane) bus shelter on the SU campus and The Warehouse and Syracuse Stage (Irving Avenue side of building) on the Connective Corridor. In addition, signs will be placed (at a later date) at Centro’s new transfer hub and the SyracuseCoE (Washington Street side).

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