As a student myself, it was not too long ago that I took school buses to get to school. When I was younger, if my bus was even a few minutes late getting home, my parents would start worrying and called the Board of Education. If many buses were late on the same day, the Board of Ed would suddenly be flooded with phone calls from parents asking where their kids were. Sometimes, in rare occasions, the parents' worries were true and an emergency had occurred on the bus and there was no way of contacting the bus driver to figure out the problem.

What it does

To help Detroit parents and bus drivers make school public transportation safer and easier, I built BusPals. BusPals is an Android app that allows parents to securely track their kids' locations while on a school bus, so they can be notified of an emergency. It also gives parents direct contact to the bus driver and school so that it is easier to obtain information. For bus drivers, this app helps them navigate to each stop and take attendance so every student is accounted for.

How I built it

I built this app in Android Studio with Java and XML. I also used Firebase real-time databases for the back-end of the app, which broadcasts the GPS data from school buses. I used Detroit Open Data to find the bus stop locations.

Challenges I ran into

It was difficult to integrate the Google Maps API and the Routes API into the app, but it was feasible. I also had to figure out how to use Firebase in an Android app.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am proud of putting together a nice UI design for the app. I made my designs in Sketch first, before redesigning them in Android Studio.

What's next for BusPals

In the future, I would like to add some more features to the app and publish it so parents and school can use BusPals in their own school systems. For example, I could use Detroit crime data to display a route to bus drivers that avoid crime-dense areas of the city. Also, I could make a Student-side to the app for students to enter codes and see bus timings/delays.

Test the app

Below, there is a Google Drive link to the app's .apk file where you can download and test it for yourself. I also walk through all of the features in the Demo Video, which is also linked below as a Google Drive attachment.

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