Once upon a time, on a crowded bus home from class, we missed our bus stop because it was too loud to hear the automated announcement. We knew the inconvenience affected both the passengers and the overall perception of London Transit. Transit Tracer was inspired from the efficiency of subways to be easily incorporated into London's transit system in a cost-effective manner.
What It Does
Transit Tracer is incorporated into city buses, taking its live location, and displaying a map of the bus route. It uses LED's to provide an easy to understand, visual representation of the current location of the bus and upcoming stops. Passengers on the bus can follow its location through the Transit Tracer's moving LEDs.
How We Built It
Using the open data provided by London Transit, we created Arduino code to, in theory, compare the location of the bus to data extracted from the Excel file. When the location of the bus is the same as a London Transit stop, an LED connected to the Arduino board will be triggered. As the bus traverses its route, the Transit Tracer map will light up to follow.
Challenges We Ran Into
We greatly underestimated the different array of technical skills that would be required and the work necessary to output the data in the format we wanted. Figuring out what method would be the best to access the London Transit data and how to export it into the Arduino Sketch consisted of quite a bit of trial and error.
Accomplishments that We're Proud of
One of the hardest aspects was using the resources and information we gathered in the Arduino Sketch. When we were able to export the numbers from London Transit's open data and use it to control our LEDs was a major accomplishment and relief. We spent a large portion of our time researching and learning different methods so accomplishing it was a big step in our learning and the overall project.
What We Learned
We learned that Arduinos are effective at inputting information from your surroundings, but pose a challenge when outputting information. We also realized that although there are many wonderful resources available, sometimes it is better to master and use only a few to make your ideas become a reality.
What's Next for Transit Tracer
When creating a final product ready to use for London Transit we would want a mounted LCD display to display the map and a live route allowing for ease in installation and adaptability of routes. We would connect with the City of London's live transit information to increase the accuracy of the current location of the bus. To better passenger experience, Transit Tracer will incorporate live arrival times to all bus stops along a given route.