Global Positioning System Integrated with Personalized Real-Time Transit Information from Automatic Vehicle Location

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

policy - disability, technology - geographic information systems, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring, place - north america, mode - bus


cognitive disabilities, Travel Assistance Device (TAD), Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL)


Navigation of a transit system can be a major obstacle to new riders, especially special-needs populations and tourists. For those with cognitive disabilities (approximately 14.3 million Americans, or 6% of the population), it is challenging to plan and execute a trip without assistance. A travel assistance device (TAD) software prototype for Global Positioning System-enabled phones was developed to aid new transit riders, especially those who are cognitively disabled. When riders approach their stops, the TAD vibrates and delivers audio and visual messages to the riders to request a stop and exit the vehicle. This paper reports the results of a study that integrated communication with an automatic vehicle location (AVL) system on transit vehicles into TAD, with new features, including personalized notices of estimated vehicle arrival time and of vehicle arrival. Implementation issues addressed include the limitations of accessing AVL data for real-time consumer use, integration of different transit agency data sources, and consideration of the effects of software applications (e.g., wireless data communication) on mobile phone functionality (e.g., battery life).


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, copyright remains with them.