On the Dot: Bronco Express Now Includes GPS Tracking System

On the Dot: Bronco Express Now Includes GPS Tracking System
A Bronco Express bus pulls up to the CLA Building near a EDAPTS sign.
President Michael Ortiz joins others during unveiling of an electronic sign that gives shuttle arrival times at the bus stop in front of the CLA Building.
Professor Xudong Jia explains the history of EDAPTS at Cal Poly Pomona.

A new GPS system has virtually eliminated the guessing game for Bronco Express passengers.

Parking & Transportation Services unveiled last week a GPS-based system that tracks the locations of the Bronco Express shuttles around campus and gives riders wait times at each stop. The EDAPTS system (Efficient Deployment of Advanced Public Transportation System) includes marquee signs at four popular stops, an online map that pinpoints the shuttles on their routes and a mobile phone option.

“In the past, there always was that unknown factor. Where's the bus? When is it coming?” says Glenn Shenker, interim director of Parking & Transportation Services. “This system is definitely going to enhance the service for our riders.”

The LED marquee signs are placed at four heavily trafficked stops on campus: in front of the CLA Building, University Village, Parking Lot B and in front of Building 94. Not only do the solar-powered signs display the arrival time of the next bus, but they are ADA compliant, providing an audio announcement of the shuttle arrival times for visually-impaired riders.

“I like it. I think it's very convenient,” says Tina Tien, a third-year business administration student. “If you know you have to wait 15 minutes, you know not to get frustrated.”

The website, www.broncoshuttle.com, maps out the three routes, pinpointing the locations of the shuttles and bus stops. Updated every 7 seconds, the map displays the wait time for the next shuttle at each stop and how full the bus is.

For riders not near a computer, they can check the status of the shuttle using their mobile phone at www.broncoshuttle.com/mobile.aspx.

With three different routes, the Bronco Express shuttle system includes six buses that stop at 32 different locations on campus and serve about 1,200 riders a day. The EDAPTS system not only helps passengers better schedule their day, but it will also assist Parking & Transportation Services in managing the buses, routes and schedules more efficiently.

The EDAPTS project began about three years ago, when students complained about waiting too long for the Bronco Express shuttles. That caught the attention of Civil Engineering Professor Xudong Jia, an expert in transportation engineering and planning. Working with Caltrans, colleagues from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, who already had a similar system in place, and Cal Poly Pomona students, Jia helped develop a low-cost intelligent transportation system that could track buses, count the number of passengers and display real-time information online and on signs.

Caltrans sponsored the project, with more than $267,000 from state and federal grants. Cal Poly Pomona contributed an additional $40,000 to the project.

Jia believes this research project could be used by other transportation systems across California. “We could hold trainings or workshops to promote this system to other small agencies. We can show the system and tell them how to use it,” Jia says. “EDAPTS could be implemented in all of California.”

To track the Bronco Express shuttles, visit https://broncoshuttle.com.