Public Transit Benefits When Buses, Riders Are Connected

Originally published October 26, 2017

New communications equipment aboard buses in Boise, Idaho, has already ensured stable, accurate, real-time online bus-tracking, on-board Wi-Fi and other features.

The network of new routers and other equipment has also opened the door for mobile-ticketing and additional improvements.

“We see this as a cornerstone or foundation to build upon the rest of our applications that we are going to be implementing in the next five years,” said Rhonda Jalbert, development director for Valley Regional Transit, the public transit agency serving the Boise metro-region.

The upgrades — provided by the communications technology company Cradlepoint — replace older equipment that routinely lost connections, even in the best cell coverage areas, said Jalbert. And then when the agency began planning its new underground transit plaza in downtown Boise, officials knew they needed to get serious about upgrading the system. The downtown underground transit plaza was part of a $75 million public-private development. VRT’s new bus plaza cost $11 million and opened in October 2016.

The new equipment was “strong enough to receive a signal down there,” said Jalbert. “And then also, it alleviated a lot of other problems that we had of losing signals throughout our region because we would lose them here and there and at other locations.” 

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