October 8, 2010

New website and app make catching shuttles easier

When it’s twenty below outside and you want to know just when the North Route will arrive—there’s an app for that.

Last week the Office of Transportation, in partnership with Student Government (SG), introduced a system that allows students to track in real-time the movements of U of C buses and shuttles via computer or smartphone.

Named “Transloc,” the SG Transportation Student Advisory Board (TSAB) advocated for the program with hopes that the bus tracking system would increase campus safety.

“By knowing where the shuttles and buses are, a person can choose to go to the pickup area at the appropriate time and spend less time outside waiting,” Transportation Director Rodney Morris said in an e-mail.

Plans to display the app on computers and flatscreens in the Reynolds Club and the Regenstein Library are in the programming and imaging stages, Morris wrote.

“We’re going to be looking at what students want the most and, if this is a priority, it’s definitely something we’ll be working on this year,” said Patrick Ip, second-year and SG vice president of student affairs.

TSAB, a group of representatives from Inter-House Council, SG, and the Administration, started researching bus tracking programs last November.

“After meeting with and looking at several other vendors we selected TransLoc based on their level of service, user friendly system, and their recommendations from other institutions,” Morris said.

First-year Sean McClelland said the system was accessible and accurate. “It’s all very intuitive,” he said. ”It’s pretty easy to figure out which buses go where and where they are going at any given time.”

Transloc covers CTA buses that run in Hyde Park as well as University shuttles.

“Since buses are one of the main methods of transportation in Hyde Park, I would recommend this to people who are looking for the quickest way to get downtown or any place in Hyde Park,” McClelland said.

SG representatives expect Transloc to become a valuable amenity during the colder months.

“Essentially, when winter comes in you are going to want to know where that bus is,” Ip said.