Battelle announced May 29 the launch of a free application known as “Connect and Ride” that empowers riders of public transportation to manage their Columbus-area trips via smartphones or a web-based portal.
Known as C-Ride, the pilot app creates a user-friendly single point of contact for selecting, viewing and managing transportation options. The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), the primary public transit provider in central Ohio, and The Ohio State University’s Campus Area Bus Service (CABS), are involved in the pilot program which is expected to run through December 2014.
The objective of the program, which Battelle is spearheading as part of a larger U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) initiative, is to make it more convenient for people to use public transportation as a means of solving both immediate and long-term issues, ranging from traffic congestion in metropolitan areas to reductions in vehicle emissions and the need to continually build highway infrastructure.
“New thinking and approaches are required to solve the transportation challenges that our nation and communities face,” said Battelle project manager Tom Timcho. “By integrating the resources of multiple providers into a single application, we can simplify public transportation use for traditional riders as well as those who currently do not even consider it as an option.”
Timcho said Battelle will monitor the use of the app, including downloads and trends. App users will be asked to complete short surveys for feedback. The information will be shared with the DOT to evaluate the transformative benefits of these technologies and determine whether the technology should be rolled out in other states and communities.
The C-Ride app, available via the Web, iOS or Android, enables people to:
- View ride schedules, routes and bus stop locations available through COTA and CABS.
- Plan and schedule trips based on current location, intended destination, and desired departure and arrival times.
- Manage time more efficiently, as riders can receive estimated walk times to and from bus stops and receive access to estimated arrival times for COTA and CABS buses.
- Find alternative travel options, including requests for bus transfers, in the event of service disruptions associated with traffic.
While the app is a valuable trip planning tool for anyone riding on COTA or CABS, an added feature – known as Connection Protection – will be available to help prevent riders from missing CABS to COTA connections. This technology will notify COTA of approaching C-Ride users so that COTA may hold a bus for up to one minute. Riders will receive updates along the way. Connection Protection for CABS to COTA transfers will be available at select locations throughout the campus area.
The Battelle project is part of a two-year, $1.5 million contract from the U.S. DOT to develop and test connected vehicle technology as a means of reducing traffic congestion, maximizing public transportation efficiency and capitalizing on unused public transportation capacity. Battelle will test a similar application later this year in Orlando, Fla. The program is in response to the U.S. DOT’s Integrated Dynamic Transit Operations Prototype Development Project to deploy technologies that significantly improve personal mobility and overall performance of surface transportation systems.