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Connecticut Launching Statewide GPS-Based Bus Tracking System

The system, called CTfasttrack, already is in place in central Connecticut.

(TNS) -- Standing at a bus stop, wondering when — or if — your bus will arrive on time will soon be a thing of the past as the state introduces a new GPS-based system that will allow riders to monitor the whereabouts of public buses on their smartphone.

The system, called CTfasttrack, already is in place in central Connecticut and will be functioning in the New Haven region by November, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

“I publicly pledge to you that not only will we modernize how we communicate with the users of the bus, not only will we tell them where the bus is in relationship to where they are, but we are also going to take a long-term look at that routing system to make sure that it works for the people of the Greater New Haven area,” Malloy said at a press conference at the Greater New Haven Transit District’s facility on State Street.

The system to be installed utilizes GPS to give riders the ability to locate any public transit bus through an app on a mobile device, Malloy said. In addition, the technology on the buses will include routers, antennas, mobile data terminals and next-stop announcement systems.

The goal is to increase public transportation ridership by 40 percent, Malloy said.

“In New Haven, we’re working with you,” Mayor Toni Harp told the governor. “We are on the cusp of a month-long transportation showcase called ‘Go New Haven Go,’ which will address the financial, logistical and practical aspects of a refined and more responsive citywide transportation network.”

Next month, New Haven begins a month-long initiative to encourage residents who drive to instead try another form of transportation: buses, walking, cycling or carpooling, which Harp referred to as the “four pillars” of the strategy to decrease the number of cars on the road.

While much has been accomplished, more needs to be done to improve the public transportation system, Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng said.

“I remember when this building behind me was the Detroit Steel factory and was an empty building, and the bus terminal was a small, small spot that didn’t have as many rides as we talked about just now,” he said, standing with Harp, Malloy and state Sen. Joseph Crisco at the entrance of the GNHTD building. “At that time, the technology that’s being rolled out today couldn’t even be thought of — to be able to look down at your palm and see where the bus is going to be and not have to worry about if it was going to be there or if I had missed it and not be able to make it to school or to work.”

“I think the estimates of a 40 percent increase are very attainable numbers,” Leng added. “This technology is going to be extraordinarily helpful to people hoping to get rides, both because they need the transportation and don’t have a vehicle to get around with and people who don’t want to use a car.”

The state needs to use all the tools available to encourage public transportation use, Malloy said, and to lighten traffic all over the state.

“Better information and technology will help retain current ridership and attract new riders as a great alternative to single car, single ride that we see repeated so often on our streets and our highways,” Malloy said. “Transformational improvements in every corner of our state is a strategic next step to continue our growth and development. It is the time for us to bring all of our bus systems, as well as all of our transit systems, into the current century with appropriate technology.”

And there’s already proof the system works, as it’s been implemented elsewhere in the country successfully already, the governor said.

“We know this technology we are talking about is already successful,” he said. “It’s already successful on Connecticut Fasttrack, and I do believe it’s one the reasons that people are turning to that system in even greater numbers than we have anticipated this early in year one. So this is just a start is what a best in class transportation system can and should look like.”

©2015 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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