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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Parking and Transportation to add GPS tracking for CatTran shuttles in the fall

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat Mark Napier of UA’s Parking and Transportation Services is working on implementing a GPS tracking system for CatTran. Already being used in Boston, this app would allow CatTran riders to track the bus they are trying to catch in real time.

Students will be able to track the CatTran shuttles in real time on their smartphones or computers beginning next fall.

UA Parking and Transportation Services will soon be testing a CatTran GPS tracking program planned to launch in fall 2013. PTS partnered with TransLoc Transit Visualization to provide this new service for riders. It will be free for students, but the initial cost of the project is $55,000 and it will have an ongoing cost of $22,000 a year, said Mark Napier, associate director of operations for PTS. Money for the project will come from parking permit revenues.

After a GPS transmitter is placed inside a CatTran, the signal will be sent to TransLoc Transit Visualization’s servers, which will then upload the information to the application, according to Napier.

“We’ve kicked around the idea of doing this for a long time,” Napier said. “There have been several companies out there that have done this for many years, and we just thought it would be a good idea to bring that to campus.”

The CatTran system carries 500,000 passengers a year, allowing there to be 500,000 fewer pedestrians and bicyclists, Napier said.

“Our goal is to maybe see as much as a 10 percent increase in ridership, because we now make it more easy and attractive to ride the CatTran,” Napier said. “So that would be 50,000 more people, which would reduce bicycle and pedestrian congestion on campus.”

Jennifer Lautenbach, a retail and consumer science freshman, already rides the CatTran, but she
said she thought GPS tracking would be a good idea.

“It would probably be a lot more helpful,” Lautenbach said. “Then I would know which stops to go
to and I would know how long I would be waiting.”

PTS is also considering adding a monitor in its main lobby with the GPS tracking system on it, said Bill Davidson, marketing manager for PTS. The dorms or the student unions might have a monitor with that information as well.

Another change will be the route titles, which are currently not very descriptive, Napier said. With the GPS tracking system, the route names will be changed. For example, the orange route will change to the North Mountain loop, Napier added.

“It’ll be neat,” Davidson said, “because you’ll be standing at the stop, and you can look on your application and see when the next CatTran is coming to your stop.”

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