Tracking your daily commute

By Alissa Hayward

New technology is going to make riding the bus a lot easier.

Cat Tracker, a GPS-based program designed to give CATS bus riders a way to track their buses location in real time, is coming to UK.

Cat Tracker allows bus riders to figure out their bus’ location in multiple ways. Riders can check the Cat Tracker website, through an app for smartphones or via text messaging.

Each bus stop will be assigned a number that allows riders to receive texts that inform them when the buses approach. Additionally, each bus stop sign will have a Quick Response, or QR matrix code that is scanned with a cell phone camera and then decoded by an app into the Cat Tracker website.

TransLoc, the provider of Cat Tracker, offers free iPhone and Android apps that enables bus riders to check the bus routes from any location.

Because the program updates in real time, bus riders can plan in case of delays, for example, from traffic or inclement weather.

“I feel that I would be more willing to ride the bus if I was able to know when it was coming, especially in the winter when I would have to wait in the cold or the rain,” nursing junior Junior Danielle Tarney said.

The Cat Tracker will also help the Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) figure out how efficient each bus route is and make adjustments if necessary.

“It’s a big value to the students and employees, and will help bus riders manage time better,” PTS director Don Thorton said.

In addition to Cat Tracker, PTS will also install an automatic passenger counter in each of the CATS buses.

The Cat Tracker service will begin this summer on a limited basis, but will be fully functional by the start of the Fall 2011 semester.

A program similar to Cat Tracker is already available at several universities and other Southeastern Conference schools, including Auburn University and Louisiana State University.

Chrissie Balding Tune, marketing/promotion specialist senior for PTS, said the TransLoc program was “a good fit for the UK campus.”

“Cat Tracker will benefit UK students, facility and visitors,” Tune said.