by Jason Y. Lee
If you've ever turned a corner to see your bus just pass the stop, or sat twiddling your thumbs for a late bus, rejoice. GoLive is a new web, smartphone and text message service that provides real-time updates of several major bus schedules in the Triangle area: Capital Area Transit in Raleigh, Chapel Hill Transit and the N.C. State Wolfline are online now. The Durham Area Transit Authority, Triangle Transit will be online Nov. 18. And C-Tran in Cary will launch in early 2012.
GoLive can be accessed in several forms: on the web at live.gotriangle.org, via a smartphone app or by text message. Both the web and smartphone versions feature a satellite map in which icons representing buses move in real time on color-coded routes. Users can zoom in or click on stops for estimated arrival times. Another option is texting, which provides an estimated arrival time for more than 3,000 Triangle area stops.
The majority of GoLive's $1.6 million in funding comes from the ARRA federal stimulus package, with additional contributions from state and local funds. It was developed over 18 months by Raleigh-based company TransLoc, in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies, and the six transit companies above.
Similar systems have been seen around the U.S., including Raleigh and Chapel Hill. But, as TransLoc spokesperson Josh Cohen points out, this is the first time several data streams from different transit systems have been integrated into a regional real-time transit map. "People would have to go to multiple places to get this information," Cohen says. "The fact that we can take this real time data from different vendors and put it all in one place is pretty exciting."
The six transit agencies have been working to coordinate and streamline their services since 2003 as part of the GoTriangle organization. Brian Schulz, communications officer at Triangle Transit, calls the project an "extension" of the standardized fare boxes, trip planning services across bus lines (switching from CAT to a TTA bus, for example) and other services.