<![CDATA[OneBusAway App Now Tracks MARTA Trains in Real Time]]> 27902 The mobile app OneBusAway, which tracks public transportation in real time, now includes arrival times for MARTA trains in addition to the MARTA buses and Georgia Tech shuttles already featured in the app.

The app pulls GPS data from buses and trains and provides real-time arrival and departure data on users’ smartphones, computers or on large video displays in stores or public areas. The app was integrated into Atlanta’s transit network by Georgia Tech researchers last year, and the app’s developers plan to add bus data for Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Xpress, Cobb Community Transit (CCT), Gwinnett County Transit, the Atlantic Station shuttle, other local university systems, and other systems equipped with GPS tracking. (Download and try the app by clicking here)

“This app helps people who want the information before they get to the train station or bus stop,” said Kari Watkins, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. “For bus and shuttle stops where there is no sign for next arrivals this app is the rider’s only source of information.”

OneBusAway is free to download and has information on transit systems in Atlanta, Seattle and Tampa. The app automatically recognizes which city the user is in, and captures data from the local transit source. The coding for the transit-tracking app was used to develop New York City’s MTA Bus Time.

The app gathers real-time location data by tapping GPS units already installed on buses and trains. Recently, MARTA made their GPS data publicly available so that software developers might use it to build apps and other tools to improve the rider experience. Riders can search OneBusAway for nearby train and bus stops and receive up-to-the-minute arrival and departure information.

MARTA also has a real-time transit-tracking app that provides information exclusively for its bus and train network.

“One of our priorities is improving the overall customer experience through the use of technology,” said Keith T. Parker, MARTA’s CEO. “That’s why we launched the On-the-Go mobile app providing real-time train and bus arrivals. We’re also excited to work with OneBusAway, and the metro Atlanta tech community, in developing solutions that will help retain and attract transit riders.”

OneBusAway’s ability to combine data on multiple transit agencies in the Atlanta region might be one way to attract riders, by helping them transfer more easily between transit systems.

“The goal is to make OneBusAway multiagency, multiregional and multimodal,” said Watkins, who co-founded the app while at the University of Washington in Seattle and is known on Twitter as @transitmom.

The Atlanta version of the app is run by Watkins’ research group, the Urban Transportation Information Lab. It has been developed by students Tushar Humbe, from the School of Computer Science, and Landon Reed, from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The program is funded by Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology (IPaT), Georgia Tech’s Graphics, Visualization, and Usability (GVU) Center, the National Center for Transportation Systems Productivity and Management and a U.S. Department of Transportation Eisenhower Fellowship.

The idea behind the app is to take a lot of the guesswork out of riding public transportation. When riders are still at their desks, at home or in a coffee shop, they can open the app on their smartphone or computer, search for nearby transit options, and know exactly how many minutes they have until the next bus or train arrives.

Watkins and Candace Brakewood, a PhD student with Watkins’ group, are launching a new study in April that seeks to quantify how real-time transit information affects ridership through studies in Atlanta and New York City.

Prior studies from Watkins and colleagues of the OneBusAway app in Seattle and Tampa found that the app’s users have a more favorable view of transit, feel safer on transit, spend less time waiting on buses and trains and report riding transit more.

OneBusAway utilizes open-source software, so enterprising transit riders can suggest tweaks to the app or develop their own transit-arrival signs. On the web, OneBusAway features a mode that is compatible with large displays, so that businesses near transit can display real-time information for patrons wishing to ride a bus or train.

Someday, Watkins envisions, transit riders will have an app that knows their route to work, what time they want to arrive, and sends alerts if a bus or train is going to be early or late.

“It gives back some of the power you give away as a transit rider,” Watkins said.
Watkins is a Georgia Tech alumna (CE 97) and was recently named to Mass Transit Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list. Her Cycle Atlanta and OneBusAway apps have been making the rounds in local and national media for the ways they could change how people commute. She’s also been an expert source for transportation stories by NPR and The Atlantic Cities.

“We’re all figuring out how we can optimize what we have and make better use of the space that exists,” Watkins said. “Even those who aren’t environmentally minded recognize the congestion and space issues and are tired of it. We have to make all our modes function better, which includes providing better information.”

Download the free apps for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone or visit atlanta.onebusaway.org for more information.

This research is supported by the National Center for Transportation Systems Productivity and Management, a U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) University Transportation Center. Any conclusions or opinions are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsoring agency.

Research News
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Media Relations Contacts: Brett Israel (@btiatl) (404-385-1933) (brett.israel@comm.gatech.edu) or John Toon (404-894-6986) (jtoon@gatech.edu)

Writer: Brett Israel

 

]]> Brett Israel 1 1394029200 2014-03-05 14:20:00 1475896558 2016-10-08 03:15:58 0 0 news The mobile app OneBusAway, which tracks public transportation in real time, now includes arrival times for MARTA trains in addition to the MARTA buses and Georgia Tech shuttles already featured in the app. 

]]>
2014-03-05T00:00:00-05:00 2014-03-05T00:00:00-05:00 2014-03-05 00:00:00 Brett Israel

404-385-1933

brett.israel@comm.gatech.edu

@btiatl

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280991 281011 280981 280991 image <![CDATA[OneBusAway screenshot]]> image/jpeg 1449244184 2015-12-04 15:49:44 1475894973 2016-10-08 02:49:33 281011 image <![CDATA[Kari Watkins]]> image/jpeg 1449244184 2015-12-04 15:49:44 1475894973 2016-10-08 02:49:33 280981 image <![CDATA[OneBusAway Tracks MARTA Trains]]> image/jpeg 1449244184 2015-12-04 15:49:44 1475894973 2016-10-08 02:49:33
<![CDATA[Festival Gives Food Trucks Right of Way on Campus]]> 27714 By the end of March, a group of student-chosen food trucks will call Georgia Tech’s campus home. Just which trucks those will be depends upon feedback gathered from a mini food truck festival, the Tech Truck Tournament, held on campus last week.

Tech Truck Tournament, held Tuesday, Feb. 26, invited popular Atlanta food trucks to campus for a one-day event. The 16 invitees set up shop around the perimeter of Tech Green. Students, faculty and staff from across campus flocked to the trucks, determined to eat their way through as many vendors as possible.

Esther Shin, a first year mechanical engineering student, heard about the event on Facebook and from flyers posted on campus.

“I was so sad when they postponed the original event,” she said, referring to a delay caused by snow days the week before. “Having food trucks on campus gives me more of a city experience, and I’m excited to try these [pulled pork and Asian rib-eye tacos] from Yumbii.” Yumbii is an Asian-Mexican food truck.

But on Tuesday, the choice between fish tacos and meatball sliders wasn’t as straightforward as it might have seemed. Event feedback, including customer count by truck, will help determine which food trucks receive permits to operate on campus year-round. As Rich Steele, senior director of Campus Services explained, “We’re asking people to initially vote with their purchases, and in the afternoon they’ll be sent an email link to a website where they can complete a survey.”

That survey, the link for which was sent to event attendees, who swiped their BuzzCards while waiting in line, allowed diners to rate the trucks they visited on both customer service and food quality.

The Tournament, co-hosted by Campus Services, Dining Services, and the Student Center, was not the first step in bringing food trucks to campus, though it may have been the most publicly visible. Inspiration for the idea struck more than a year ago, and administrators have since come to view the integration of food trucks into Tech dining culture as an important development.

“With food trucks so prevalent in Atlanta, the city offers an incredible variety of foods, especially ethnic cuisines, and we just can’t offer that range of food on campus by ourselves,” Steele said.  “Increasing the variety of options students have will increase their dining satisfaction, and that’s a major goal.”

On-campus food truck service is set to begin the week of March 24, the week after spring break.  Before that happens, administrators will issue operating permits to between six and 10 of the most popular food trucks, all based on the results from the Tournament.

Trucks from this group will offer lunch service Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a rotational schedule determining who comes each day. Up to four trucks will operate on campus daily.

The food trucks will be centrally located on campus, specifically at two places: the College of Architecture plaza behind Clough Commons and the College of Computing plaza near the Howey Physics building.

Bogna Grabicka, a research scientist in the chemical and biomolecular engineering building, believes the food trucks will help promote an even greater sense of community on campus.

“A mix [of students and faculty] can come, students can stand in line with professors and chat,” she said. “Talking about food doesn’t require a degree.”

http://www.news.gatech.edu/2014/03/04/festival-gives-food-trucks-right-w...

]]> Kyle James 1 1394208032 2014-03-07 16:00:32 1475896558 2016-10-08 03:15:58 0 0 news By the end of March, a group of student-chosen food trucks will call Georgia Tech’s campus home. Just which trucks those will be depends upon feedback gathered from a mini food truck festival, the Tech Truck Tournament, held on campus last week. The Tech Truck Tournament, held Tuesday, Feb. 26, invited popular Atlanta food trucks to campus for a one-day event. The 16 invitees set up shop around the perimeter of Tech Green. Students, faculty and staff from across campus flocked to the trucks, determined to eat their way through as many vendors as possible.

]]>
2014-03-05T00:00:00-05:00 2014-03-05T00:00:00-05:00 2014-03-05 00:00:00 280301 280301 image <![CDATA[Tech Truck Tournament in front of Clough Commons.]]> image/jpeg 1449244184 2015-12-04 15:49:44 1475894973 2016-10-08 02:49:33
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech team named finalists in prestigious Urban Land Institute Hines Student Urban Design competition, will compete for $50K first prize]]> 27814 For the first time, a team of graduate students from Georgia Tech has made it to the finals of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Hines Student Urban Design competition. The team is made up of Audrey Plummer, Dawn Riley and Logan Tuura, who are all pursuing dual master degrees in architecture and in city and regional planning; Blair Revercomb, a master’s in city and regional planning student; and Yigong Zhang, a master’s in urban design student while an exchange student from Tongji University in Shanghai.

The competition, which is in its 12th year, offers graduate students the opportunity to form multidisciplinary teams and engage in a challenging exercise in responsible land use. From over 150 entries, only four finalist teams are chosen. This year, those teams will compete in Nashville, Tennessee, presenting their proposals for redevelopment of the city’s historic Sulphur Dell neighborhood.

“This is a fantastic honor and opportunity for our team,” said Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor, coordinator of the masters in urban design program, and faculty advisor to the team. “This competition is the premier urban design competition of its kind. It’s a terrific learning experience – forcing the designers to think more like developers and vice versa, but it is also extraordinarily competitive. It will push them to be at the top of their game, but will make a lasting impact on their professional lives. It’s great to see the interdisciplinary collaboration – amongst the students as well as all of the faculty, alumni, and local professionals who assisted during the initial two-week phase. We are all 100% behind them.”

Audrey Plummer, team leader on the project, said, “The ULI competition is an intense experience, because we have to produce high-quality work in a very short time frame. Working effectively in an interdisciplinary team is essential to producing a great project. Being a finalist is very exciting and our team is proud to represent Georgia Tech and the College of Architecture.”

The teams will send a representative to do a site visit in March, then will have two weeks to finalize their proposals. The final presentations are slated for April 3 in Nashville. 

The ULI Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition is part of the Institute’s ongoing effort to raise interest among young people in creating better communities, improving development patterns, and increasing awareness of the need for multidisciplinary solutions to development and design challenges. Teams must be comprised of students from at least three disciplines, working to devise a comprehensive design and development program for a real, large-scale site full of challenges and opportunities. Submissions must include drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data for the designated site.

For more information about the competition and to see the team’s proposal, visit http://uli.org/programs/awards-competitions/hines-student-design-competition/.

]]> Lisa Herrmann 1 1393491387 2014-02-27 08:56:27 1475896555 2016-10-08 03:15:55 0 0 news For the first time, a team of graduate students from Georgia Tech has made it to the finals of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Hines Student Urban Design competition. The team is made up of Audrey Plummer, Dawn Riley and Logan Tuura, who are all pursuing dual master degrees in architecture and in city and regional planning; Blair Revercomb, a master’s in city and regional planning student; and Yigong Zhang, a master’s in urban design student while an exchange student from Tongji University in Shanghai.

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2014-02-27T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-27T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-27 00:00:00 Lisa Herrmann

Director of Communications

College of Architecture

404-385-0693

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279331 279341 279331 image <![CDATA[ULI team image1]]> image/jpeg 1449244168 2015-12-04 15:49:28 1475894971 2016-10-08 02:49:31 279341 image <![CDATA[ULI team image2]]> image/jpeg 1449244168 2015-12-04 15:49:28 1475894971 2016-10-08 02:49:31
<![CDATA[Targeted Community Engagement in Health Impact Assessments]]> 27714 Doctors advise patients on how to stay healthy, they diagnose illnesses, and they recommend treatments to help patients overcome their conditions. In many ways, a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) provides the same advice to communities, instructing them on how to improve public health through the design of the built environment. HIAs shed light on the health impacts of plans and policies that typically fall outside of the public health arena, such as transportation plans and land use policies, and incorporate them into the decision-making process. While most HIAs include a deliberate community engagement component, Anna Rose Harkness (MCRP '13) writes in her 2013 applied research paper that some segments of the population are less likely to participate in the process than others, and the results of HIAs may not fully represent the needs of a community.

In Engaging Vulnerable Populations in Health Impact AssessmentHarkness sets out to find which populations may be overlooked by traditional methods of community engagement and what strategies can increase participation from vulnerable groups. Through a review of existing literature on challenges in community engagement and working with vulnerable populations, an evaluation of HIAs from eleven states (using the Health Impact Project’s HIA database), and interviews with HIA practitioners and policy experts, she develops a framework for engaging vulnerable populations in HIAs.

The resulting framework aims to make the successful engagement of vulnerable populations an integral part of the HIA process. Harkness proposes a five step system: 1) Review HIAs addressing similar issues, identify stakeholder groups and vulnerable populations, evaluate available engagement methods, and assess the potential benefits of the engagement process. 2) Identify partners to act as bridges to the community and select outreach methods that can connect with all residents. 3) Document and quantify outreach methods and results. 4) Evaluate outreach methods and results based on “pillars of a successful activity” and “social goal” criteria. 5) Reinforce new relationships to build on and use in the future. Just as a doctor would be sure to examine the most vulnerable parts of the human body to respond to a patient’s needs, this framework helps HIA practitioners engage a community’s most vulnerable populations and create recommendations that are more responsive to all residents in a community.

Anna Rose Harkness is a 2013 graduate of Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning. Advising for her applied research paper was conducted by Associate Professor Nisha Botchwey.

]]> Kyle James 1 1392781442 2014-02-19 03:44:02 1475896555 2016-10-08 03:15:55 0 0 news While most HIAs include a deliberate community engagement component, Anna Rose Harkness (MCRP '13) writes in her 2013 applied research paper that some segments of the population are less likely to participate in the process than others, and the results of HIAs may not fully represent the needs of a community.

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2014-02-19T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-19T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-19 00:00:00 247361 247361 image <![CDATA[hands]]> image/jpeg 1449243772 2015-12-04 15:42:52 1475894924 2016-10-08 02:48:44
<![CDATA[Research on transit wait time convinces Florida county to invest $12.6 million in bus locator system]]> 27714 Broward County, Florida, approved by unanimous vote the allocation of $12.6 million for a bus locator and dispatcher system. Research has shown that giving passengers an accurate forecast makes them feel better about the entire transit experience, said Kari Edison Watkins, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It can be more important to riders than increasing the frequency or timeliness of buses, for example. Watkins was part of a university research team that created an app called OneBusAway, now in use in Tampa, Seattle and Atlanta. She said she found that passengers waiting for buses feel a warped sense of time. "What happens is — and this is typical in all waiting situations, like when you're waiting in the doctor's office — you feel like you're waiting longer than you actually are," Watkins said "[But] when you have this information, it brings your perception of that wait in line with how long you're actually waiting."

]]> Kyle James 1 1393931951 2014-03-04 11:19:11 1475893619 2016-10-08 02:26:59 0 0 hgTechInTheNews 2014-03-02T00:00:00-05:00 2014-03-02T00:00:00-05:00 2014-03-02T00:00:00-05:00
<![CDATA[School of Architecture Professor Named to 2014 Hanley Wood Sustainability Council]]> 27814
The School of Architecture's Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor of architecture and urban design, was one of 10 individuals selected by Hanley Wood to serve on their 2014 sustainability council. The Council is made up of practicing architects, researchers, educators and building scientists and will investigate and explore opportunities in sustainability. For the complete release on the 2014 Council, please visit http://www.hanleywood.com/pressroom/hanley-wood-announces-2014-sustainability-council

]]> Lisa Herrmann 1 1392049799 2014-02-10 16:29:59 1475896551 2016-10-08 03:15:51 0 0 news The School of Architecture's Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor of architecture and urban design, was one of 10 individuals selected by Hanley Wood to serve on their 2014 sustainability council. The Council is made up of practicing architects, researchers, educators and building scientists and will investigate and explore opportunities in sustainability.

]]>
2014-02-10T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-10T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-10 00:00:00 Lisa Herrmann

Director of Communications

College of Architecture

404-385-0693

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148331 148331 image <![CDATA[Ellen Dunham-Jones 2012]]> image/jpeg 1449178763 2015-12-03 21:39:23 1475894782 2016-10-08 02:46:22
<![CDATA[Prof. Dobbins and maps at center of MLK reroute debate]]> 27714 Atlanta is now proposing to reroute traffic west of the Falcons stadium from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to a two-lane residential street that has curbside parking, with public works commissioner Richard Mendoza releasing a map of the proposed changes. One of the more prolific cartographers in the MLK reroute conversation is Mike Dobbins, a former Atlanta planning commissioner who now teaches at Georgia Tech. Dobbins draws maps on whatever material is at hand – napkins, scrap paper, the border of pages of other maps. Dobbins uses full-sized paper once he’s fleshed out the ideas. The Tech students Dobbins has overseen in the past year have created highly detailed maps that address issues ranging from transportation to environment. The work is part of their studies of the stadium neighborhoods in particular, as well as the Northside Drive corridor from I-75 in the north to I-20 in the south.

]]> Kyle James 1 1392901369 2014-02-20 13:02:49 1475893619 2016-10-08 02:26:59 0 0 hgTechInTheNews 2014-02-19T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-19T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-19T00:00:00-05:00
<![CDATA[Atlanta campaigning to become 'Global Smart City for Mobility']]> 27714 Atlanta is campaigning to become one of a handful of cities to be designated a Global Smart City for Mobility — a move that it hopes will catapult it among the world’s technology capitals. A contingent of Atlanta mobility executives and economic development leaders were in Barcelona, Spain, from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27 attending the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the largest mobility convention in the world, attracting more than 70,000 people. GSMA is finalizing its criteria to name a small group of metro areas — probably beginning with just four cities — that would qualify as Global Smart Cities for Mobility. 

]]> Kyle James 1 1393607036 2014-02-28 17:03:56 1475893619 2016-10-08 02:26:59 0 0 hgTechInTheNews 2014-02-28T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-28T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-28T00:00:00-05:00
<![CDATA[Atlanta stadium developments range from intentional gentrification to fortresses says Prof.s Dobbins and Keating]]> 27714 Atlanta’s poor record on economic inequality has not disappeared in the 50 years following the civil rights movement. “It’s bothered me ever since I got here; it bothers me more and more,” professor Mike Dobbins says. “It’s the worst city for people born poor to be anything other than poor.” What change has come to the neighborhoods has had fewer tangible benefits for the original residents. More than $66 million in grants and investments poured into the community to build new housing during this period, but few of these new units were affordable enough for long-time residents to rent or purchase. As Keating concluded, “the revitalization occurring in Summerhill is intentional gentrification.” Dobbins, who used the neighborhoods around the Falcons stadium project as a case study for his urban planning graduate students at Georgia Tech last semester, says that dismantling the “fortress-like look” of nearby Northside Drive should be a key part of any stadium redevelopment plan. “They walled off downtown from these neighborhoods.”

]]> Kyle James 1 1393000774 2014-02-21 16:39:34 1475893619 2016-10-08 02:26:59 0 0 hgTechInTheNews 2014-02-19T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-19T00:00:00-05:00 2014-02-19T00:00:00-05:00