Apparently Senator Jack Reed was in RI announcing the $1.34 Million dollar grant to the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA).
The enhancements according to RIPTA are:
“Thanks to Senator Reed, RIPTA will be able to add Intelligent Transportation System technology to all 240 of its fixed-route buses, bringing the RIPTA bus fleet into the 21st century. This new technology, which will also include real-time information for customers at our transit centers, will result in greatly improved service for our customers. We are very grateful to the Senator for securing the funding to make all this possible,” said RIPTA’s General Manager. Mr. Moscola also thanked Senator Reed for obtaining ITS funding for RIPTA in the past.
The enhancements will include vehicle location, automatic A/V announcements of stops on buses, and computer aided dispatch. I guess they’ve been putting GPS transceivers in all the buses lately.
This is good and I’d like to see this technology spread to major stops (E.g. those with shelters). It’d be easy to throw solar on the roof of the shelter to power a networked device. I’m pretty sure they could even work a deal with the City of Providence to tie them into the MESH network the city has deployed all over the place. You can spot them easily, they’re little whip antennas on top of street lights.
And down the street from me is a PowerWave Repeater for the network. It’s just hanging on a pole with a bigger whip on top of the pole. I’ll have to see how many of these I can spot in the neighborhood.
I’ve also emailed both my Senators and my Representative telling them that if MA could get $20 Billion to bury I-93, we should sure as hell be able to get a similar amount to put in tracked public transit in RI, especially in the urban core.
We don’t even have to bury the pathways for the light rail either. Just lay it into the road. You could even run power underground – put a third rail recessed a few feet into the ground. No need for overhead catenary. And those light rail trains are low enough to the ground that you wouldn’t worry about pedestrian hazards with it.
It’s time for us to re-think RI’s transportation strategy.