Local News

TTA Goes High-Tech To Lure Commuters On Buses

Posted June 11, 2001

— Commuting by bus might make the morning commute a little less of a hassle, but most people in the Triangle are still hesitant about giving up their own set of wheels.

If you are one of them, there is a high-tech way of handling buses that could help you change your mind.

The

Triangle Transit Authority

is using a new satellite system, which allows dispatchers to track the exact location of TTA vehicles any time of the day.

"If someone calls in and says 'I'm waiting on the 201A,' what I can do is pull it up on the computer and I can locate the vehicle, " says dispatcher Tellis Chandler.

Colored dots on a screen indicate where buses are located:

  • Green: running on time
  • Orange: ahead of schedule
  • Blue: behind schedule
  • Purple: not assigned to a route
  • Dispatchers say the system has dramatically improved communication, and it helps them verify complaints through a daily report.

    Included in the system is a chat program similar to e-mail. Dispatchers can type in a message from their base and drivers can respond.

    More improvements, like Web-based updates for riders, are also planned for the future.

    The TTA currently has 35 buses covering routes in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and plans to add 12 more buses by the end of the year.

    It is also expanding service early next year to increase pickup times from every 30 minutes during peak hours to every 15 minutes.

    The satellite tracking system was purchased with grant money from the

    state Department of Transportation

    .

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