Last April, the CTA announced plans to expand its Bus Tracker GPS tracking program to all bus routes. Bus Tracker, which is based on technology from Clever Devices, works using preexisting GPS equipment installed on buses as part of the automated voice annunciation system (AVAS). Wireless EVDO data modems, which make use of the Sprint cellular network, are installed on buses to transmit location data to servers in real time. Customers can view arrival information for CTA buses using the Bus Tracker web site. The technology can also be used to assist the CTA control center and field supervisors in correcting bus bunching.
The CTA is currently conducting internal testing of the system on bus routes served by Chicago and 77th garages. The installation of necessary equipment has been in progress to enable Bus Tracker on vehicles from those garages. In the November 2007 edition of Connections, the CTA’s monthly cable television program, it was revealed that routes served by 77th garage will be the first made available on the public Bus Tracker web site. The CTA will then continue to test the accuracy and reliability of the system before deploying it at additional garages.
Originally, the CTA announced that the first Bus Tracker routes would be those served by North Park garage. Since buses from North Park serve the three-track rail construction area, the reasoning was that the technology would be especially useful to those experiencing lengthier travel times. However, likely due to the unexpected low impact of three-track, CTA has since changed their initial deployment plans.