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Mobile Display of #NewJerseyTransit #Bus and #Train Updates

Posted on January 14th, 2016

MobileDevNJ

01/14/2016 @ 50 Harrison St, Hoboken, NJ

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Bob James @ NJTransit spoke about their acquisition and dissemination of real-time train and bus data. This is exemplified by the current bus locations shown on 198.177.3.211.

Bob talked about 12 years of automating the collection and reporting of real-time data. The initial goal was to automate arrival and departure announcements at train stations. Doing this required locations of trains and buses in real time. This eventually led to DepartureVision and other in-station and mobile displays of arrival times. (Locations with LED signs will eventually have countdowns included in the display.) Systems are also being upgraded from recordings (female voice) to text-to-speech systems (currently a male voice) by Loquendo. In most cases, the triggering of announcements is fully automated.

Ticket sales were the first items in the mobile app. This was followed by trip planning, station information, etc.

Buses. Currently all 4,000 buses are tracked by GPS. The MyBus app shows bus locations in real time. A system was also developed to record when buses leave, number of passengers, departure gate, … This is populated by a central database and updated using mobile apps. Within NJT, eStarter, a mobile app reporting arrivals and departures at Port Authority, is used by dispatchers to reschedule and redirect buses to keep them on time. The system replaces manually created monthly performance reports. It also has proven useful during storms when counts of morning commuters are used to estimate the evening demand. Clever Device automates the counting of people boarding and exiting each bus.

Trains. The position of each train is reported by track circuits since trains do not have GPS on board. 50 stations have wifi provided by CableVision. Spring 2016 will see the rollout of onboard wifi. Currently, most mobile access is through 3rd party apps which can combine data from other transit providers. Eventually he sees a move from the current feeder system to Uber. This will also make it easier for all riders to get to and from the train station.

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