Everybody who waits at a bus stop wants to know one thing: Where's the bus? Thanks to Tiramisu, a new iPhone application developed at Carnegie Mellon University, transit riders in Pittsburgh will soon be able to get the answer by using crowdsourcing to share arrival times with each other.
Tiramisu literally, Italian for "pick me up" makes it easy for riders to use their iPhones to signal the location and occupancy level of the Port Authority of Allegheny County bus they are riding, in real-time. The new app was developed by researchers in the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT), supported in part by CMU's Traffic21 initiative. It is available free through the iTunes AppStore.
With Tiramisu, anyone waiting at a bus or T stop with an iPhone can see which buses or light rail vehicles are due to arrive next and, thanks to the signals from riders already aboard, get an idea of how long they have to wait.
When a rider first activates the app, Tiramisu displays the nearest stops and a list of buses or light rail vehicles that are scheduled to arrive. The list includes arrival times, based either on historical data for that route or on real-time reports from riders. When the desired vehicle arrives, the user indicates the level of "fullness" and then presses a button, allowing their phone to share an ongoing GPS trace with the Tiramisu server. Once aboard, the rider can use Tiramisu to find out which stop is next and to report problems, positive experiences and suggestions.
Tiramisu allows transit riders to create the information they want in collaboration with Port Authority of Allegheny County. It is a model for how citizens can help produce the public services and information they desire.
The information available through Tiramisu is also critical for riders with disabilities. The fullness information lets riders who use wheelchairs know if there is space on the bus
|Contact: Byron Spice|
Carnegie Mellon University