Mobility Investigate

Cooperative Transit Tracking Using Smart-Phones

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Executive Summary

Real-time transit tracking is gaining popularity as a means for transit agencies to improve the rider experience. However, many transit agencies lack either the funding or initiative to provide such tracking services. In this paper, the authors describe a crowd-sourced alternative to official transit tracking, which they call cooperative transit tracking. Participating users install an application on their smartphone. With the help of built-in sensors, such as GPS, WiFi, and accelerometer, the application automatically detects when the user is riding in a transit vehicle. On these occasions (and only these), it sends periodic, anonymized, location updates to a central tracking server.

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