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Making campus shuttle service faster, more reliable

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intercampus shuttle service
An extra bus was added to campus shuttle service this week to reduce wait times during peak daytime hours. Bus tracking is on the horizon.

Photo: Kathryn Marchetti


Improvements to the intercampus shuttle service — now and planned for the future — will make getting around campus faster and easier.

Beginning this week, the intercampus shuttle wait during peak daytime hours was reduced to 15 minutes, thanks to an additional bus on the route.

The improved service, Monday through Friday, runs between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Service between 7 and 8 a.m. and between 4 and 6 p.m. is 20 minutes; evening service from 6 to 11:45 p.m. is 30 minutes. (On-request Red Car service remains available between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.)

But more improvements are in the works.

Jakob Eriksson, assistant professor of computer science, is working on ways to reliably track the buses, making the wait for a bus outside in inclement weather a thing of the past.

“Each bus will have a GPS receiver antenna, a small embedded computer and a modem connecting the computer to the Internet by means of cellular data service,” says Eriksson.

Initially, users will see a simple map on their computer showing bus locations. Eriksson hopes the system will grow in sophistication, with raw bus location data available to technically adroit students who create tracking systems of their own.

“We’re not there yet and have more work to do before this is installed,” says Eriksson, who specializes in networked computer systems.

Eriksson, who is interested in public transit networks, heads a project called TransitGenie — essentially a smart phone application that works like a GPS navigator for public transit.

Version 1.0 for Apple’s iPhone is available at the iTunes app store. Read more about TransitGenie online.

Eriksson says Version 2.0 will be available sometime in December.

“This version,” he says, “should prove much more interesting.”

Funding for the extra intracampus bus comes from the offices of Mark Donovan, vice chancellor for administrative services, and Barbara Henley, vice chancellor for student affairs.

francuch@uic.edu


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