Bus Fleets Displaying GPS Position in Real-Time

Creative Commons License photo credit: bengt-re

In Washington, D.C., the traffic authorities responsible for the local commuter bus system there have developed a new service for sharing the position of each bus in real-time. The new service is quaintly called “Where’s my Bus?” and displays the GPS position of your bus. The service is viewable via the web or from any Internet-enabled smartphone such as the iPhone or Blackberry. Obviously, this improves the service in a significant way in that riders no longer have to worry where the bus is and can use the bus system more efficiently. We expect the trend of sharing GPS position data for individual vehicles to continue, especially in consumer-focused services such as commuter transport or car services and limousines. It is easier to be patient when you know exactly where your bus or taxi is located at any time while you wait.

The District Department of Transportation’s Gabe Klein explains the value of the “Where’s my Bus?” service:

DDOT Director Gabe Klein says it’s a new world. “I think smart phones are becoming the norm for people in urban environments.”

Customers now want information, on demand, any time and anywhere. “In the winter, it’s cold. Wouldn’t you rather be waiting in your office for 9 or 10 minutes?”

Using GPS technology, DDOT’s application allows riders to track each bus down to a tenth of a mile. From Klein’s office at 14th and U Streets, he tests the programs accuracy. “I’m going to hit refresh and sure enough, it’s at 14th and T.”