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Senior project to help track campus shuttles

By Joshua Bennett
On November 21, 2013

  • Melanie Fiona

The Prairie View A&M University campus shuttles are getting an upgrade to their GPS systems.
 An app, which is to be called PV Real-Time Bus Tracking System, will allow students to locate on duty Panther buses, both on and off campus, on a mobile device, with plans to have it accessible through personal computers.
 The system will help PVAMU shuttle riders check bus locations in real-time and help them better utilize the free shuttle service.
With their advisor Dr. Yonggao Yang, computer science students Darien Nelson, Anthony Smith, and Charmaine Tomlinson are developing the system as their senior project.
The students felt that developing the system would be a great benefit to the campus.
"We were inspired to do this project because we felt that once we graduated we could still be a small part of Prairie View history," said Nelson.
The students believe that the application will help make the bus system more efficient.
In order for the application to be available for all students to obtain, it must be placed on both the Apple app store and the Google Play store.
The campus bus tracking system that Rice University currently uses inspired the project.
The students say their system differs from other systems because they will use modern smartphones to read GPS location information, transmit data through 3G/4G or Wi-Fi, and map buses on a local map.
The upgrade comes on the heels of other upgrades made on campus and to campus parking and transportation. The university has recently improved the exterior and interior of the campus' shuttles.
Many students on the Prairie View A&M University campus utilize the transportation services offered by the school to get between classes throughout the day.
Currently, there is no way for students to determine when the shuttles will arrive at each bus stop due to traffic, bus capacity, frequent irregular stops, and bad weather.
Students often may miss the campus shuttle bus and wait 15 minutes for the next bus to arrive when they could have walked to their destination in a shorter amount of time.
"I have waited on the bus for so long at a time that I was 10 minutes late for class," said senior criminal justice major Ashley Kerr. "I had no idea when it came to the stop, and how far long it was from coming back."
Jarrick Brown, Student Government Association vice president, is excited with the students' development of the app.
"This proves that we are improving the university as a community," said Brown. "It also helps students manage their time better, since they won't be focusing on when the shuttles will come."

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