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DTA’s WebWatch feature now provides automatic email notifications about “real-time” schedules for regular bus riders

Published: Expires: 11/1/2009

The Duluth Transit Authority’s online GPS-based bus tracking feature – WebWatch – has recently introduced an email notification service informs riders about the status of the buses they usually take in “real time”.

Riders can sign up for the email notification in the WebWatch feature and they will receive an email in advance of their normal boarding time that provides the schedule status of their bus in “real time.” Riders can sign up to receive these automatic email notifications on a daily basis or when they usually take the bus. Daily commuters can sign for email notifications for their morning bus and for their return bus from their workplace. Riders can sign up for an email notification account at http://webwatch.duluthtransit.com/Default.aspx by selecting “new user” at the top right hand corner of the page.

Subscribers can indicate when they’d like to receive the “status of their bus information.” They can request the email notification to arrive 15 or 30 minutes in advance of their normal boarding time. They will receive the anticipated arrival time of their bus at the bus stop calculated in “real time.” This is a real convenience for riders who will know that status of their bus before they leave the house or office. During inclement weather, when buses can be delayed, riders can better time their arrival at bus stops. This email notification service is especially helpful during winter snowfalls, when riders can cut down on the time they spend at the bus stop waiting for the bus.

WebWatch is an interactive feature that allows riders to obtain “real time” schedule information and track buses with a click of the mouse.

WebWatch tracks buses and predicts in “real time” when buses will arrive at their next bus stops. Using GPS-based satellite tracking, the WebWatch calculates when a bus will arrive at its stops.

Through the use of satellite tracking and GPS-based technology, WebWatch allows riders to access real-time bus schedule information for their stop and monitor their bus on a map as the bus makes its way along the route. WebWatch calculates when a bus will arrive at a selected stop based on the actual time the bus passes GPS points along its route.

WebWatch users select the bus route they need, indicate the direction of travel and choose their stop; and WebWatch provides a “real- time” estimate for the next three arrival times at that stop.

WebWatch real-time schedule times and live bus tracking maps are updated every minute.

WebWatch allows riders to see exactly when their bus will arrive at their stop while still at home, work-site, school and other web-friendly environments, and plan their schedule accordingly. Wait-time at bus stops can be reduced and trip planning improved.

WebWatch can be accessed from desktop and laptop computers along with web-enabled mobile communication devices.

WebWatch has recently been upgraded with mapping technology by Google Maps and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth. In addition, major and minor bus stops are also now available on WebWatch. The new mapping technology provides enhanced aerial views of the terrain when tracking buses along routes.

Google Maps and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth mapping technology replaced Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) application software previously used by WebWatch. In the past WebWatch users were prompted to download free SVG Adobe software; but now with Google Maps and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth mapping systems, it is not necessary.

The DTA introduced WebWatch in February of 2008 and was the first transit system in Minnesota and third in the nation to provide the real time schedule and live bus tracking feature on its website.

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