Students take to bus tracking system

Students are now taking full advantage of Duke’s new bus tracking system and most are loving every second of it.

The Duke bus tracking system TransLoc launched Monday. The website,, uses GPS technology to display the real-time locations of all 28 buses in the University’s fleet. Brian Williams, transportation demand management coordinator for Parking and Transportation Services, said he believes that the availability of tracking information has already made the Duke bus system more dependable for students.

Freshman Megan Lax said she has already used the tracking information a few times and has found it very helpful when planning trips between East and West campuses.

“I got the bus tracking [application] on my iPhone, and I love it,” Lax said. “It has allowed me to stay inside a little longer before going out in the cold and standing at the bus stop hoping a bus is going to show up. It’s awesome that it tells you in minutes how long you could have been waiting there.”

Williams noted that usage statistics regarding Duke TransLoc are not yet available.

TransLoc, which is still in its beta phase, contains tracking information for other area bus systems—including Triangle Transit, Bull City Connector, Capital Area Transit, Durham Area Transit Authority and North Carolina State University buses. In addition to visiting the tracking website, students can download a mobile application for their smart phone or utilize a text messaging service to obtain information on wait times for buses at each of the University’s 113 bus stops.

The website also notifies visitors of any delays or changes to bus routes.

“Having that knowledge, I think, will really allow students to use the bus system even more frequently and realize that they’re getting more minutes back in their day,” Williams said.

Many students living on Central Campus said the tracking information is particularly useful for them because it is difficult to predict when a C-2 is going to pass their stop.

“It’s helpful to know where [the buses] are, knowing if I have to leave a little bit early to get to class or to get to a meeting on West or on East,” said senior Natalie Marsch, a Central resident.

Williams hopes that the online bus tracking will help students feel safer when traveling at night by allowing them to stay indoors until a bus arrives at a nearby stop.

“That’s going to be good for everyone’s piece of mind,” he said.

In addition to providing information to students, the tracking system has already helped Parking and Transportation Services monitor and improve the efficiency of the University bus system, Williams said.

“We’re able to get a readout daily, even hourly, that shows us how efficiently the buses are running,” he said. “Even when we were testing the system out, our bus efficiency improved over the testing period.”

Parking and Transportation Services is still working to get the word out about the website by placing signs at campus bus stops, Williams said. There has been a very positive reaction coming from those who do know about it.

“The few people that I’ve talked to seemed pretty excited,” he said. “When the sign [at the bus stop] went up pretty much everyone got out their phone and looked at the buses online.”


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