New Hampshire college launches real-time, text alerts on bus system

University of Hampshire (UNH) students can be less dependent on their cars and have more faith in their campus' bus system with the campus' latest innovation. Through the use of LED panels, global positioning systems, text alerts and a mobile application, commuters will have access to the most up-to-date schedule, according to the New Hampshire, the university's newspaper.

This heavily integrated system has been in the works since 2007, when UNH's transportation department asked the university's population on how they could improve. They received an overwhelming response to provide "more real-time information," Michael Amicangioli, planning and contracts manager for the department, told the source.

The institution began actively working on the program in 2010 and was able to unveil it to faculty and students at the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year.

One of the largest benefits of combining SMS services with other campus-wide programs is that it can potentially increase ridership while decreasing the use of cars on campus. UNH is one of few communities in the United States under an ozone-non attainment area. Amicangioli is hoping that the success of the bus scheduling system will persuade less students to bring their cars to the university..

"We're doing what we can to get people off the road to try to reduce as many emissions as possible going into the air," Amicangioli explained.

Before this service was launched, the most popular module on UNH's mobile app was dining information with more than 24,000 clicks, but the transportation updates recently took over with over 33,000 clicks. Students can save themselves more time by directly texting the bus' short code with their location.

The program will automatically respond with an estimated time of arrival based on its GPS location. Previously, students who used the buses could be up to 10 minutes late for class because they were unsure if it was running ahead or behind the route.

"If it works, I think it'd be a good system just because I could still do homework if I knew the bus was going to be another 10 minutes," graduate student Samantha Smith noted.

Transportation services can utilize a similar text messaging service to improve their operations. Through the support of Swift SMS Gateway, these developers can help transition companies toward implementing these solutions.