Live timetable information available in new mobile app

Google Maps used to display the actual location of appraoching transport, via GPS

Carnegie Mellon University's Sandora students.

Carnegie Mellon University's Sandora students.

Post-graduate IT students from Carnegie Mellon University Australia (CMUA) have created a mobile phone app that provides commuters with live public transport timetable information.

Information on the whereabouts of an approaching bus, train or tram can be obtained by an in-built GPS, and sent to a server. It is then compared with the original timetable to calculate its actual arrival time.

Named Sandora, the prototype was recently tested on the Adelaide Connector bus service, using SMS messages to alert commuters the location of their bus. Future versions will send this data either as TCP/IP data packets over the 3G Network or via a URL.

“Commuters can either go to the Web site and use Sandora for free or, if they are on the go, they can use their mobile phone to find out when their public transport vehicle will arrive at a particular stop,” IT masters student Phil Allan said.

“They will receive a text of the live timetable information and a Google Map showing the location of the vehicle.”

The project’s supervisor, associate professor Riaz Esmailzadeh, said Sandora can also be configured to provide information on service interruptions and disability access. The CMUA team are currently trying to secure venture capital funding for the homegrown application.

“It can also monitor school buses, track riders in the Tour Down Under, as well as fleet management and taxi locations,” Esmailzadeh said.

The system will also open up the door for local advertisers, with opportunities to display their logos on the Google Maps that accompany the bus information.

The next step, said Allan, is to test it on a greater range of public transport and other vehicles.

The Sandora mobile phone application is not yet available to the public, but should accessible within a year, provide the CMUA team secure adequate VC funding.

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