Riders can use real-time tracking to find Southeast Missouri State University shuttles

Friday, October 29, 2010

Catching the shuttle at Southeast Missouri State University is down to a science.

On Monday, the university's transit operations rolled out real-time shuttle tracking, allowing riders to track the location of Southeast's shuttles through GPS technology either from a cell phone or computer.

Brian Holdman, technology specialist in Southeast's Office of Marketing and University Relations, said the tracking system will give students a better idea of the true arrival time of shuttles.

"If the weather is bad, this is most advantageous," he said. "Or in the morning if a student is running late, they know they're not going to miss a shuttle."

The tracking service uses GPS units on each shuttle. Location data is tracked and updated every 10 seconds and charted on a map. Shuttle locations are downloaded to a database and found at shuttletrack.semo.edu. Trackers will see icons of little white buses pinpointed on the campus' various routes.

The information also can be accessed via smart phones. Riders connect to the university's mobile application at m.semo.edu and click on the "shuttle track" icon. The tracker includes a list of routes showing the next stop, estimated times and all the stops the shuttle is making on the routes.

Mike Hopen, the university's transit operations supervisor, expects the tracking service will help build ridership. The campus' eight shuttles carried about 150,000 riders last year, about a 15 percent increase from the previous year, Hopen said.

"I know it has only been in operation for four days, but I've heard nothing but positive comments about it," Hopen said. "I hear students saying things like, 'I wish we would have had this sooner. I wish we had it when I was a freshman or a sophomore.'"

mkittle@semissourian.com

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