Emory Report
December 10, 2007
Volume 60, Number 14

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December 10, 2007
GPS technology tracks Cliff’s moves to reduce the wait

By kelly gray

Commuters using Emory’s shuttle system, Cliff, no longer have to wonder when or where their next ride is coming from, thanks to newly installed technology on the University’s shuttle Web site, www.ridecliff.org.

The new equipment allows riders to view the location of the shuttles and routes in real-time from ridecliff.org or a Web-enabled cellular phone (a Java applet is required to view the map). The Web site also features shuttle announcements and updates like traffic delays, weather conditions and construction-related interruptions.

Cliff buses are equipped with global positioning system units that transmit their location to a central server. That data is then broadcast to a map on the Internet or a mobile phone in a matter of seconds.
“This new technology will help commuters better manage their commute, allowing anyone with Internet access or a cell phone to coordinate with the system,” said Adele Clements, Emory’s transportation director. “It also helps to manage day-to-day operation of the system so that we can minimize the impact to our riders when disruptions occur.”

The technology allows commuters to choose when to arrive at bus stops while minimizing their wait. The Web site continuously displays the location of the buses and shows their real-time movement against a map of recognizable buildings and landmarks familiar to riders. The shuttle locations shown on the map are approximately five seconds behind its actual live location, giving riders enough time to arrive at the bus stop.
“This eye-in-the-sky view of Cliff shuttles will help us increase ridership and deliver better service to our customers who are coming to and getting around the campus,” said Clements.

All of the shuttle routes except for the Oxford and Lenox routes are equipped with the new tracking technology.

In November, Cliff marked its first anniversary at the Northlake Mall park-n-ride lot. Many of the more than 5,000 riders on the morning and afternoon route use the 30-minute trip to read or relax and enjoy the ride into Emory’s campus.

However, the greatest impact can be felt on the North DeKalb Mall park-n-ride route where ridership has grown steadily. In September this route included 20,000 commute trips on Cliff shuttle buses (more than 500 daily round trips). With such a high demand for ridership, this route also picks up commuters at the same stops as the Northlake shuttle.

Emory’s third park-n-ride lot at The Gallery at South DeKalb counted 4,700 commuters in September.
Although not a park-n-ride shuttle, the Executive Park route is influencing traffic in the Clifton community as well. Making more stops than any other route in the system, the Executive Park route picks up neighborhood commuters at various businesses and apartment complexes along its course.

Cliff park-n-ride routes are positioned along major thoroughfares throughout the community and shuttle stops are conveniently located near MARTA bus stops. In all, Cliff shuttles are helping to reduce short trips on and around Emory’s campus and in the community.

For specific stop information and schedules visit www.ridecliff.org or call Emory’s Transportation Office at 404-727-1829.