New Bus Technology Hits the Streets For Capital Metro

Feb. 25, 2015

Capital Metro enters a new era in technology offerings to customers Feb. 25 moving away from bus schedules to live information riders can access on-the-go. This morning, the agency flipped the switch, releasing new real-time information to the public across its entire bus fleet.

The real-time data is enabled by GPS technology, which signals a minute-by-minute countdown at each bus stop for the next three bus departures. The GPS-enabled real-time data will also allow Capital Metro to more accurately track every bus on every route, every day. This comprehensive information will allow for specific system improvements and adjustments to be made on a regular basis in the future.

“We are delighted to introduce new technology offerings including real-time data for all our vehicles, and an open data real-time portal, to benefit our customers, encourage innovation by app developers and allow for better collaboration with other system providers,” said Joe Iannello, chief information officer at Capital Metro. “Our customers will now have added reliability when traveling, with real-time next departures and trip planning using location data for all our vehicles.”

The agency rolled out real-time data on MetroRapid and MetroRail last year, receiving strong positive feedback from customers.

“Our riders have told us that this type of technology is relevant to how they live their lives,” said Dan Dawson, vice president of marketing and communications at Capital Metro. “With real-time, customers have information that’s readily available to them on their phones, tablets or laptops, and they don’t have to wait at the bus stop wondering when their next bus will be there. Having real-time information helps riders reduce their wait time, while providing a whole new level of predictability.”

Capital Metro continues its drive to offer technological innovations to help riders eliminate the guesswork in trip planning. According to a 2013 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) report, “Millennials and Mobility,” commuters age 18-34 rated the availability of real-time updates as the second highest priority they would like to see added to transit offerings over the next decade.

Beginning Feb. 25, real-time information can be tracked on the CapMetro App, at the website, through the GO Line, by text message or QR code, on the RideScout app and on Google Transit.

Capital Metro plans to upgrade the look of the desktop website interface in the next few weeks to make it even more customer-friendly. In late 2015, the agency plans to introduce new website tech features that will utilize the real-time information to include live maps that display every route with corresponding buses along the route.

Open Data Portal

Capital Metro is also releasing its real-time data via an Open Data Portal. The data, available at the agency websute and also on the city of Austin and state of Texas websites, will enable external developers to create innovative new apps that will benefit the riding public.

Locally based transportation aggregate app, RideScout, will be among the first external apps to feed Capital Metro’s real-time information. RideScout has been a Capital Metro Open Portal beta tester over the past several months.

Capital Metro’s real-time technology and its mobile ticketing option, which has won both state and national awards, have helped Austin clinch the top ranking among 19 “Abundant Choices” cities by the Innovative Transportation Index. The report provided a comparison of 70 U.S. cities and the availably of 11 services that support “car-light” lifestyles.