David Alson
Ryan Kelly
Dennis Hammond
Adam Koeninger
Vince Mancuso
Chelsea Nauman
CJ Soergel
Paul Sunderhaus
Britney Woodr...
2
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
1. Problem Description
1.1 Demand for Miami Metro System
1.2 Miami Metro Downfalls
2...
3
1. Problem Description
The overarching goal of this project is to make the Miami Metro more usable for the people who
ha...
4
2. Project Overview
The general idea of our project is to put a GPS receiver and a transmitter on every bus at Miami
Uni...
5
2.1 Hardware
The component research, system features, and coordination with the Miami Metro and Parking
and Transportati...
6
of live tracking. With live tracking being the primary outcome of this project, we had to forget
about this option.
Foll...
7
2.2.1 Software Back-end and Client Input
As our system collects positioning data from the GPS receivers on the bus, that...
8
able to develop a method to accurately forecast the projected arrival time of a given bus at a
stop.
In addition, our mo...
9
In addition to the basic features of the management software, we have to make sure the system
is stable and easy to use....
10
The first three core elements are all supported by modern browsers through defined
specifications set out to standardiz...
11
DuTrack
DuTrack is a project from Duke University that is currently still in development (Ball, 2010). The
client inter...
12
3.2 Leaders in the Industry
The leaders of the Smartphone sector include, Research in Motion Ltd and Apple. These
compa...
13
According to the data found on Mediamark from Fall 2009, the rate of cellular phone use is
highest among people ages 18...
14
areas become less congested. Also for future work, there might be a passenger counter
integrated with the GPS position....
15
combined with the Miami „M‟ and a depiction of the Miami Metro buses. The slogan “Less fuss
when catching the bus!” is ...
16
7. Conclusion
We feel this application will go a long way towards improving the usability of the Miami Metro
service. T...
17
Appendix I
18
Appendix II
Appendix III
19
Works Cited
Ball, M. (2010). DuTrack. Retrieved from http://news.duke.edu/2010/08/mattball.html
Ferris, B. & Watkins K....
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Track 'm competition project proposal

  1. 1. David Alson Ryan Kelly Dennis Hammond Adam Koeninger Vince Mancuso Chelsea Nauman CJ Soergel Paul Sunderhaus Britney Woodruff Miami University Interdisciplinary Technology Development Challenge Faculty Advisors: Dr. Jerry Gannod and Dr. Jade Morton October 22, 2010
  2. 2. 2 Table of Contents Table of Contents 1. Problem Description 1.1 Demand for Miami Metro System 1.2 Miami Metro Downfalls 2. Project Overview 2.1 Hardware 2.1.1 Components 2.1.2 Alternatives 2.1.3 Installation and Cooperation with Parking and Transportation 2.2 Software 2.2.1 Software Back-end and Client Input 2.2.2 User Interface 2.2.3 Existing Solutions 3. Economic Viability 3.1 Mobile Phone Industry 3.2 Leaders in the Industry 3.3 Mobile Service Carriers 4. Impact Analysis 4.1 The Smartphone Industry 4.1.1 Future of Smartphones 4.1.2 Impact of Smartphones on Target Market 4.2 Social Impact 4.3 Environmental Impact 5. Branding 5.1 Logo Origin 5.2 Coordination with Miami iPhone team 6. Time Table 7. Conclusion Appendix I Appendix II Appendix III Works Cited
  3. 3. 3 1. Problem Description The overarching goal of this project is to make the Miami Metro more usable for the people who have access to the service. The current methods of informing metro riders of the various routes and bus stops is through antiquated, static methods. A PDF document is published to the Parking and Transportation Services website on a regular basis which users can download and use to view various routes. Additionally, signs are posted at every bus stop in Oxford that allow users to see when the next bus should arrive, the routes along a stop, and each stop‟s time of arrival. While these methods are standards for very effective systems in major cities and metro areas, the information contained in posted signs and documents could be delivered through more efficient tools. With people‟s increasing dependence on computing and mobile technologies, the discrepancy between how the current metro system functions and the user‟s need for accurate mobile information is slowly becoming more apparent. By constraining route information to a personal computer or a bus stop‟s physical location, the current postings deny the casual user mobile access to the information. Many potential riders are unwilling to walk to a bus stop to view when the next bus will arrive, severely decreasing ridership. Additionally, those riders willing look up information on when a bus is scheduled to arrive have no ability to determine whether the scheduling information is accurate. If a user waits at a bus stop and the bus does not arrive, that user is unable to determine whether the bus has already visited the stop or is running behind schedule. In order to help the user make the decision of whether to walk or wait longer, he or she must have access to the location of that bus. 1.1 Demand for Miami Metro System The demand for the Miami Metro system falls into several categories. First of all, freshmen are not permitted to have cars without authorization. Being unfamiliar with the campus and uptown, freshmen,new students, and faculty utilize the Miami Metro. Secondly, the small size of the campus limits the number of parking options. Due to the lack of available parking, the university requires on and off-campus students to purchase parking passes in order to park on campus. A year purple permit pass for an off-campus student costs $100. This does not guarantee an open parking spot everywhere on campus at any time (MU Parking Services, 2010). 1.2 Miami Metro Downfalls One breakdown of the Miami Metro system is its unpredictable nature. There are many forces that could cause delays: poor weather, delay in driver exchange, malfunction of buses, accident on campus, etc. Currently, there is no way to track where a bus is on the route and when it will arrive at a stop. With seven routes, the bus system at Miami can be confusing. On the Miami University parking services website, the bus route stops are classified by the intersection of two streets on campus. Refer to Appendix I to see how complex and congested the current Miami Metro map is (MU Parking Services, 2010). It is very difficult to follow each route and figure out where the bus stops are located. For individuals who are not familiar with the campus and the streets surrounding the bus routes, it could be difficult for he/she to locate the stop without a map in hand at all times. If this information were available on a student‟s Smartphone the experience of catching a bus will be greatly impacted. The Track‟M application would enhance the bus experience and make it more convenient for students and faculty.
  4. 4. 4 2. Project Overview The general idea of our project is to put a GPS receiver and a transmitter on every bus at Miami University‟s Oxford campus. When one of these buses is on its respective route, the receiver will continuously communicate with the GPS satellites to acquire the position of the bus. The GPS receiver will be connected to the transmitter, which will send the information to a base station located in a centralized location with decent line of sight. The base station itself is a receiver that can communicate with multiple transmitters. From here, the base station will send the positions that it is acquiring to a server that will be used to update locations on the web service that the user will view from their smart phone. The position data that is sent from the transmitter on the bus to the base station will be sent via radio frequency. The determination of which frequency will be used is dependent on two stipulations. The first is there are only so many frequencies that are unlicensed. The other stipulation is at what frequencies the transmitter and the base station receiver operate at. Figure 2.1: General overview of the bus tracking system.
  5. 5. 5 2.1 Hardware The component research, system features, and coordination with the Miami Metro and Parking and Transportation Services have all contributed to the current design by changing and shifting our plan to best accommodate a few key factors. We are attempting to keep cost down while providing a rich end-user experience understanding that the minor changes in the selection of hardware directly effects the users. Through coordination with the customers we have targeted the primary features of the application and have produced the above concept. 2.1.1 Components The first component that we had to look at was the GPS receiver. This is arguably the most important component of the system because if this is not accurate, the whole system will not be useful or effective. There is a wide variety of GPS receivers made today, ranging from sub one hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars. The different receivers have different accuracies, interfacing, and power specifications. The GPS receivers we need for this project do not have to be extremely accurate, however we do need them to be able to give coordinates close enough to differentiate streets. Because of the size of the bus, and the length of routes, a location within a couple of meters of its true location would suffice. Looking into the different options for receivers, we found that Garmin has multiple options at reasonable prices. The non-discontinued Garmin GPS Receivers being sold are the 16x, 18 OEM, 18x OEM, 18x 5Hz and the 20x. The 18 OEM is currently on back-order and we would not be able to test with it for a couple of months. The 18x 5Hz provides faster coordinate refreshes and costs more than the others; we do not need this extra speed for what we are doing. The 20x would suffice for acquiring accurate GPS location, however it is not a durable piece of hardware, which is required for mounting on the outside of each bus. Based on all of this information, we narrowed the receiver list down to the 16x and the 18x OEM. The 16x and 18x are very similar. Both of these receivers are considered high sensitivity receivers, meaning they are less likely to yield errors when in an environment where signals are being reflected, such as a city environment, or areas where there is a lot of tree cover. They will both receive locations within three meters and both are able to be interfaced with different radio frequency transmitters. The difference that allowed us to chose one over the other is the durability of each. Because the GPS receivers require line of sight with the satellites to attain the most accurate location, they will have to be installed on the outside of the buses, thus requiring the most durable option. The more durable option between the 16x and 18x is the 16x. 2.1.2 Alternatives Once we have the location of the bus, we need to send that information to our base station. There were a couple of options for sending the information that we looked into. These options included Wi-Fi, RFID chips, the GSM Network and Radio Frequency signals. Wi-Fi was the first option that we looked at because of the availability on campus. Although this may have been the easiest option to implement, there are not Wi-Fi signals at each location on all routes, so this option was out of the question. The next option we looked at was using RFID chips on each bus. The idea here would be to have stations at each bus stop, so each time the bus stopped the service would be updated saying the bus has arrived at that specific stop. Building the system like this would cause a loss
  6. 6. 6 of live tracking. With live tracking being the primary outcome of this project, we had to forget about this option. Following RFID, we looked into using the GSM Network, which is the network on which cell phones send information. Most of the other bus tracking systems that we looked in to used this option because of the ease of implementation. Although this would be easy to install, the reoccurring costs of paying for service for over twenty cell phones is just too much. The final and chosen option we looked into is using radio frequencies to transmit the signals to our base station. This option is the best and cheapest for live tracking. To implement this option, we would have two devices on each bus, the GPS receiver and a radio frequency (RF) transmitter. The GPS receiver would acquire the location and send it directly to the RF transmitter. The RF transmitter would send the signals to our base station. Choosing this option would allow us to receive real time location information and allow us to differentiate which bus is sending that information. 2.1.3 Installation and Cooperation with Parking and Transportation Because we will be installing devices onto the buses at Miami, we require a working relationship with Miami‟s Parking and Transportation Services as well as the bus company First Transit. Meeting with these groups proved to be very beneficial. First Transit clarified many of our questions including how to power the components that would be aboard each bus as well as how and where these components would be stored on the bus. During the beginning stages of the research, solar power was thought of to power up the receiver and transmitter on every bus. Though this has its obviously environmental benefits, it would not be in the scope of our price range. When the bus company was asked, they said we would be allowed to connect the receiver and transmitter, which both run at twelve volts, to a fuse box that is located on every bus. The fuse box is connected directly to the buses battery with twelve volts. This will diminish the need for secondary components because we can hook the receiver and transmitter directly up to the battery, whereas before we would need to add other circuits to get the correct voltage. Due to this direct connection, the components would receive and send data only when the bus is on. This outcome is something that we are pleased with, but it brings up another issue. Sometimes these buses go to Indiana for service and maintenance, which would cause our application to show something that we do not want. To deal with this, we were told we could add our own switch to the buses switch panel, so when the driver is driving the bus for anything besides a bus route, they can turn off the receiver. We also found out that it would not be a problem to bolt the receiver on the roof of the bus. If the receiver was inside the bus, it would not be able to get a clear signal from the GPS satellite. Most receivers come with a magnetic base, but when the bus is driving, it occasionally hits branches to could dislodge the receiver form the bus. 2.2 Software There are a number of different software systems necessary for a well-defined and functional bus tracking system. Through cooperation with Parking & Transportation Services and the busing company First Transit, we defined the requirements for a route management system in addition to the front-end application with which metro riders interact.
  7. 7. 7 2.2.1 Software Back-end and Client Input As our system collects positioning data from the GPS receivers on the bus, that information is relayed to a base station. This base station is then responsible for communicating through a network connection to our application server. From here, the actions necessary to deliver the sophisticated features of the system can be achieved. Relaying Communication Through RF communication, the GPS locations of all active buses en route will be received by a base station. This station is then connected with a small networked device that is capable of serializing the data and perform a reliable connection to our application server. Application Server In a standard three-tiered software architecture a client communicates to a server which then works with additional resources to produce or maintain the state of an application. The application server in our design will coordinate any communication, messaging, requests, and all other system services with the client. What it will not handle are calls to the Google Maps service API. That service is provided through the client‟s connection with Google‟s service that delivers map information and location-based services. From the application server‟s perspective there are a number of steps that must take place to initialize the service. It must accept any new sessions with all clients accessing it, coordinate information retrieved by the client from Google Maps, and produce the results of the clients requests for our systems services. The largest component of the application server is the model that produces the bus arrival time predictions. There are many different variables that can affect a buses travel time on campus during different times of day. Through our conversations with Parking and Transportation Services, designing a mathematical model that would take into consideration conditional elements like time of day, weather conditions, and street situations, will be critical towards the accuracy of our application. It is paramount that the timing of a bus‟s arrival be precise enough to allow a user to effectively utilize our application for there own good. Mathematical Model An important aspect of the technology is the accuracy with which the application can predict the estimated arrival time of a given bus at a given stop. This ability to predict these arrival times for the buses greatly depends on a realistic mathematical model of the buses' movements. This model will need to make use of traffic flow analysis, which considers how traffic moves for various locations on the bus routes. A realistic traffic flow model would need to take into account intersections, with traffic lights, crosswalks, and stop signs in particular. Ultimately, it would be able to forecast the estimated time it will take for a vehicle to move through a given intersection in a specific direction. This makes use of the timing of lights, the estimated number of cars at the given intersection at a specific time, along with several other factors. Clearly, these factors vary for different times of day, different days of the week, and different time periods (for example, during school breaks, or when weather is poor). Using a traffic flow model, we can develop a mathematical forecasting model which predicts the time it takes for a bus to get from one specific location to another. Further, using GPS tracking systems in the buses, we can collect data over time on each of the buses' movements. This can be analyzed using a number of statistical methods in order to improve the accuracy of our model, so that our model can simulate the movement of a bus over time and accurately match the average movement of that specific bus over time as tracked by the GPS. In this way, we are
  8. 8. 8 able to develop a method to accurately forecast the projected arrival time of a given bus at a stop. In addition, our model need not be unchangeable. Rather, the model can be implemented into the software in such a way that modifications are made systematically, based on the patterns recorded by the GPS over time. For example, if in the future, a construction project is undergone at a specific intersection, then traffic at that intersection will be slower. Since our GPS tracking system will continue to record data on each of the buses' locations over time, then this change will be reflected in the data for the buses that move through the intersection. The application can make use of this, so that if, over time, the data is varying greatly from the average data recorded previously at a specific location and/or time, the model will change to reflect this new average. Thus, after a few days of construction, the model is adjusted to account for slower traffic at that intersection, and projected arrival times change accordingly. In this way, projected arrival times of buses can be made as accurate as possible. Figure 2.2: Application Server Model Diagram Management Software Building off of our application server, it becomes important to create an interface with which Parking and Transportation can add, change or remove the routes that the client application uses. The purpose of this software is to allow non-technical administrators the ability to modify any part of the system that may change in the future. In particular, we will have features for stop modification, route modification and scheduling.
  9. 9. 9 In addition to the basic features of the management software, we have to make sure the system is stable and easy to use. Due to the potential of user error, our administrative application will use a number error checking and fault-proof methods that prevent and correct for any administrative error. In particular, our administration software will provide drafting and versioning features. The administrator can create any number of drafts of stops or routes without affecting the client application. This is useful for planning out new routes in advance before they are ready to be published. Additionally, the versioning feature will ensure that no past routes are deleted. This becomes especially helpful if the administrator makes a negative change from which he or she cannot figure out how to recover. They will be able to view the history of that particular route and revert to a previous state. Through our interaction with Parking and Transportation, we identified a number of additional issues that our administrative software will need to handle. For example, the same buses do not always run on the same route meaning we cannot associate GPS IDs with routes. To correct for this, our software must be able to associate the movement of a bus with the particular route that it is traveling. Some routes actually have alternative routes that drivers are encouraged to take, such as if a car is parked such that the driver cannot make a particular turn. Our management system would have to handle deviations like this gracefully. Also, if a bus is deviating significantly from its defined route, our system should be able to detect this and notify someone. For this, we would implement a feature that emails someone if a bus is leaving the Oxford area. 2.2.2 User Interface Overview The focus of our application is to aim at mobile web-capable devices. Our intended audience is always on the go and having access to our service is critical to its success. So, we have made our target very wide to start the project off and will then narrow our focus to include the integration of our application into the Miami iPhone Application in development by the M- Learning Center. A behavior critical to our application‟s initial success is the ability to determine the type of device with which the user is accessing our service. To produce the most consistent experience we want to point the user to the same website address no matter what type of device they are using. Whether they are on a laptop, smart phone, or more primitive phone, through analyzing the web browser the user has visited our service with we will be able to determine how best to not only deliver our applications content but also how best to format it. Regardless of what web browser or device the user visits our service with, we are aiming to provide a consistent experience. This starts with the appearance to the user. The design will be consistent across all devices through the Track‟M branding and the familiar icons and colors used to recognize the Miami Metro bus routes. The software tools we will use to write the application include: ● HTML ● CSS ● Javascript ● Objective-C ● MySQL ● Google Maps API
  10. 10. 10 The first three core elements are all supported by modern browsers through defined specifications set out to standardize the development of web applications. Objective-C is a specific programming language utilized by iOS applications; all iPhone applications are created using Objective-C. MySQL is an openly supported and developed database computer language available for open adoption. The Google Maps API is the listing of services, techniques, and guides for implementing a Google Maps service using the standard Maps application. It brings with it, map data, street layouts and names, and an experience made comfortable through Google‟s popularity. Live map of bus locations The main feature of our user interface is the interactive map of routes and the current locations of all the buses that are running. This feature is essential for showing users where bus stops are located and where the buses are traveling. With location detection technology, we can also show where bus stops are in relation to the user and give that user a visual depiction of exactly how far he or she is from the desired bus stop. Additionally, users will be able to interact with the map by clicking on stops and routes to determine when the next bus will arrive. Because our map is updated with bus location information in real-time, the map will be enjoyable to use and a main draw to our application. Estimated time of arrival Perhaps the most clear and straight-forward method of detecting whether a bus is running late or has already passed a stop is the estimated time of arrival (ETA) feature of our application. One of the primary concerns of the existing metro information system is that determining whether a bus is on schedule or not is impossible. This feature provides close estimates of a bus‟s arrival at a stop, allowing users to quicken their pace to a stop if needed. We would offer different views of the ETA information, including the ETAs of all the stops on a route, the ETA for an individual stop and the ETAs for the stops closest to the user. Destination Our user interface also offers destination based features. It will provide the user the ability to enter their target destination from which we can suggest the nearest bus stops and routes to get to that destination. The user can either enter their start location for destination based services, or we can detect their location using their GPS position or IP address look-up. This feature is important to the application because it allows users who are unfamiliar with the metro system, access to a simple method of getting from one point to another in Oxford. Additionally, it tells them the distance and the time to the destination so that they can choose between using the metro and walking. Ultimately, this feature should help increase ridership due to the ease of use. 2.2.3 Existing Solutions Before drafting the software design of our application, our team did research on a number of student bus tracking projects from other universities. By looking at and interacting with the software interfaces of various bus tracking technologies, we gained insight on how our own interface should function. In particular, we were able to discover which features worked well and what desired functionality was missing. These student projects also provided insight into existing open source frameworks and protocols that could be useful during our development phase. We were able to compare the aesthetics and colors of the various designs to determine what layout provides for a more enjoyable user experience. In the end, we examined and compared three student projects including DuTrack, Magic Bus and OneBusAway.
  11. 11. 11 DuTrack DuTrack is a project from Duke University that is currently still in development (Ball, 2010). The client interface is a web-based application that uses Google Maps for displaying routes on campus. Although DuTrack has few features, it allows users to easily interact with the map and view the particular routes they are interested in. Additionally, the system provides announcements about future abnormal traffic problems, like sporting events. From a technical standpoint, DuTrack uses an open source protocol and framework called OpenDMTP for sending the buses' GPS coordinates to a user's browser, which would be useful for our own project. DuTrack also has a clean, straight-forward design that makes using the application easy and intuitive. However, DuTrack cannot run on a mobile device and does not estimate the times of arrival. These two missing elements of the application severely decrease the usefulness of the service. Magic Bus Over the past several years, Magic Bus has been developed by undergraduate students under the direction of Chris Ruf at the University of Michigan (Ruf, 2009). It offers all the functionality of DuTrack in a very similar design, however, unlike DuTrack, it provides various views of the data. You can see estimated times of arrival for specific routes and stops, and view this data either in map form or as a line chart. Additionally Magic Bus provides XML feeds of their data, allowing other developers to design their own applications such as an iPhone app, a Google widget, an Apple dashboard widget, an instant messenger bot and others. Despite the functionality of the system, it is difficult to navigate their application and lacks an attractive, identifiable user interface. This severely decreases the experience of the product. OneBusAway OneBusAway from the University of Washington is one of the best student software designs that we have encountered in terms of functionality and its ability to display bus tracking information as straight-forward as possible (Ferris, 2010). It has a visually stunning user interface with custom graphics and a well-defined identity. Everything that OneBusAway has to offer in terms of software is well documented, and all of the research that was put into the project is easily available, including survey results and descriptions. What makes OneBusAway stand apart from many of the other student projects we looked into is its numerous applications that make data as visible as possible. The project includes a web application, a native iPhone app, a native Android app, a SMS service, and even an automated phone service. Each of these applications supports features of the previous two student projects in addition to bookmarked routes, search functionality, and customized settings. 3. Economic Viability 3.1 Mobile Phone Industry The mobile phone industry is a growing business that produces millions in sales each year. Currently 91.3% of all Americans own a cell phone (IBIS 2010). The two leading companies include Samsung and LG, which account for almost 50% of the mobile phones sold in the US (Appendix II). They have been the major leaders in this industry for years, but recently have seen a decline in the market share. In 2009 the value sales of mobile phones grew by 4% from the previous year to total 134,673,500 units sold (GMID 2010). This large increase was due to the popularity of Smartphones, which accounted for about 30% of all mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2009 (GMID 2010). This new segment has provided stability and growth for the overall sales, which have been hurt from a suffering economy.
  12. 12. 12 3.2 Leaders in the Industry The leaders of the Smartphone sector include, Research in Motion Ltd and Apple. These companies are competing to produce new, highly technological devices that will change the way people live their lives. Currently the largest demographic of cell phone buyers include generation X&Y (IBIS 2010). These generations are made up of younger people that are always on the go and in a hurry. The advances in technology have created a phone into a multifunctional entertainment and communication device that has the combine features of a computer with Internet access, camera, GPS, iPod, and phone. These features match what the consumers need for their always on the go life style. What differentiates RIM and Apple is their positioning and target market. Research in Motion Ltd, which produces the Blackberry, focuses its marketing toward business people. Apple, which produces the iPhone considers its phone to be a lifestyle phone and targets a younger market. One advantage Research in Motion Ltd has over Apple is that its phone is available on a variety of networks, while Apple currently holds an exclusive agreement with AT&T. This exclusive agreement has hindered its ability to gain the majority of the market share and restrained it from reaching out to all its potential customers. 3.3 Mobile Service Carriers While Research in Motion Ltd and Apple have been battling for the market share so have the providers that carry their phone. AT&T and Verizon are the nation‟s largest mobile services carriers. These two carriers have been competing over who has the better 3G network. The speed and quality of a network is very important to phone owners. It determines the quality of the signal and the speed that their phone can download. Recently there has been a push for a faster network. These two providers are fighting to bring a 4G network to market first. The capabilities of the 4G network represent the future for Smartphones. It will allow phones to be able to download more content at a faster rate. Not only does the future of Smartphones look bright, but also so do the networks that will allow them to use their full capabilities. 4. Impact Analysis 4.1 The Smartphone Industry The popularity of Smartphones has also been an advantage for independent application designers. In 2009, Apple sold or gave away 2.5 billion apps (GMID 2010). There seems to be an app for almost everything. Currently there are apps to help you find the nearest gas station, figure out the amount of a tip, buy tickets instantly, and so many more. The creation of apps has helped simplify people‟s lives. The ease of use and awesome capabilities makes Smartphones and apps so alluring. Currently, Apple controls the mobile app market. They have created a functional system and have gained the majority of the market. Although other operating systems and hardware manufacturers are trying to catch up Apple will probably remain the preferred format for developers. 4.1.1 Future of Smartphones The Smartphone market is a strong and growing market that will continue to see growth over the coming years. Since the market is young and there are few competitors, it is likely that more companies are going to try to gain a share in the market. This will increase competition and urge on technological improvements. Overall the mobile phone market will continue to see growth and increase sales due to the popularity and growth of Smartphones (Appendix III).
  13. 13. 13 According to the data found on Mediamark from Fall 2009, the rate of cellular phone use is highest among people ages 18 to 54. Each of these age groups show an index value above 100 (ranging from 101-110). For example, for ages 18-24 the index number is 108 meaning that these individuals are 8% more likely to have used a cellular/mobile phone for personal use in the last six months (Mediamark, 2009). The age groups are also segmented based on education level. The highest usage is found in people who have graduated college (index of 113). 4.1.2 Impact of Smartphones on Target Market The use of Smartphones is changing the way people access information. Gathering local information like weather and news used to be done by watching television or visiting websites on a computer. Now, Smartphone users have the ability to access this data with their handheld devices. The college use of applications on a Smartphone for this activity is shown with an index of 106, which shows that they are 6% more likely than the average person to have used their phone to gather this information. However, the overall age group of 18-24 shows a much higher index value of 147. Another interesting observation is that one of the most used websites by people that use Smartphone applications is Facebook (Mediamark, 2009). 4.2 Social Impact The creation of an application for tracking the buses on campus has several social implications. Perhaps one of the biggest impacts on the social sphere is the feeling of safety and security. Students in particular often stay out late before walking back to their apartment or dorm. By producing an application that gives them precise notification of when a bus will be arriving at a stop, they may be more willing to wait indoors and travel by bus back home rather than walking at night. An additional social impact is a potential increased interaction among riders of the metro. During severe weather, such as thunderstorms or blizzards, metro riders can stay inside and communicate with those students with the mobile bus tracking application to determine when the next bus will arrive. It also protects those students and faculty against those adverse weather conditions. Our application may also help to decrease student tardiness. Students who live off campus often rely on the metro service to arrive at class on time. By providing more accurate estimations of the time of arrival at a particular stop, we are enabling users to more effectively catch a bus. Missing a bus from a location off campus otherwise could result in severe tardiness or absence for that particular student, and our product helps improve that. Finally, our product helps to increase bus usage and reduce individual vehicles. Rather than relying on a personal means of transportation, students and faculty can use our more reliable bus tracking application to increase the number of people who travel by public transportation. Some students may be motivated to use the metro system more often due to the positive impact it would have on both the environment and reducing traffic. This reduction in traffic could also help increase pedestrian safety and make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street. 4.3 Environmental Impact After we accumulate enough data, we will be able to share the data with First Transit and they will be able to make informed changes of the bus routes. They will be able to see where on campus the bus runs into the most delays. These delays could be due to class changes or just vehicle traffic. Due to these areas being congested, changing the bus routes could help these
  14. 14. 14 areas become less congested. Also for future work, there might be a passenger counter integrated with the GPS position. This would allow First Transit to see if no passengers get on or off at a certain bus stop and they could possibly remove it to make a route that will get to a more trafficked stop quicker saving fuel. Another impact would be the radio frequency that we send out over campus and how it may affect local wildlife and devices. One of the most common unlicensed frequencies is nine hundred mega hertz. This leads to a problem in that since we are going to use an unlicensed frequency, anyone else could use the same band as our radio antennas. This scenario would cause the issue known as signal noise. When two sources of radio waves are operating at the same frequency their waves can interfere with one another, disrupting the signal. To combat that problem we need our transmitter to encode our messages and ensure our receiver only hones in on the properly encoded messages. Fortunately, many components come with these options standard. Another benefit to our system through encoded broadcasting is that an encoded signal will conceal position of data from other receivers in the area operating at the same frequency. These other receivers can‟t decode our message without rigorous computation efforts. 5. Branding In order for our team to form an identity and build a strong user base, it became important for us to decide on an official title, logo and motto. This presents our project as an easily identifiable organization around which we can build a communication with interested parties. This identity is important from both a business and user standpoint, as it gives people an initial impression of our product and what it does. Our branding extends beyond just a logo to encompass all aesthetics of our project, including any presentations and software design we implement in the future. 5.1 Logo Origin When designing our logo, we kept a number of goals in mind with respect to our identity. The first step in designing our logo was identifying our audience. While a large percentage of metro users are students, we had to keep in mind the larger general audience which includes faculty and alumni visitors. With this in mind, we wanted to create a logo and motto that was attractive to students but still considered professional. Additionally, we wanted a short memorable name that identified us as a Miami University project while still referencing the type of services we provide. Figure 4.1 - The project name, logo, and slogan. From this, we began brainstorming names involving terms like “tracking,” “Miami,” “MU,” and “GPS.” Eventually we agreed on the name “Track „M,” a play on the contraction “„em” meaning “them.” By combining the highly recognizable Miami M and the word “track,” we managed to fulfill our identity goals; we created a unique, highly recognizable name that identifies the type of service we provide. The logo evolved out of this phrase, including a natural looking font
  15. 15. 15 combined with the Miami „M‟ and a depiction of the Miami Metro buses. The slogan “Less fuss when catching the bus!” is easy to remember and succinctly describes our project. 5.2 Coordination with Miami iPhone team One additional concern we had when defining our identity was future coordination with the Miami iPhone team. Because our project will likely be integrated into the Miami iPhone app in the future, it was important that we maintained a design that was appropriate and compatible with the current app design. This involved coordination with our faculty mentor and taking the iPhone project into consideration throughout the design process. 6. Time Table To this point we have done research of design ideas and how we will implement our product. After doing this we have a clear idea of what direction we want to go. The next step is to test our ideas with actual physical components. So we will purchase one receiver, one transmitter, and the base station and first see if our selected hardware is correctly locating the position of the bus and storing the information on the server. Once we have proof that the hardware is functioning correctly, we will do two things: create the functioning code for the application and purchase components for each bus and back-ups in case one set of receiver/transmitter breaks down. Next we will take the time to install a transmitter, receiver, and switch onto each bus. At the same time, we will continue to work on our code and math model. Once we have a very raw version of our product, we will form a focus group that will take place at the Farmer School of Business. There the students and professors will be given some smart phones with our application running. They will give feedback on what they do and do not like about the application. Also they will be able to give us suggestions on how to make it better. After we get all of the feedback, we will make the necessary changes to our program and hardware if needed.
  16. 16. 16 7. Conclusion We feel this application will go a long way towards improving the usability of the Miami Metro service. The goal of our project is to create an application for the student on the go. By working with mobile web-capable devices, our application will be usable everywhere you can access the internet. With the growing trend in smart phones and other mobile web devices, our application will make the most of this and continue to provide a useful service to the Miami Metro system and its users for a long time.
  17. 17. 17 Appendix I
  18. 18. 18 Appendix II Appendix III
  19. 19. 19 Works Cited Ball, M. (2010). DuTrack. Retrieved from http://news.duke.edu/2010/08/mattball.html Ferris, B. & Watkins K. (2010). OneBusAway. Retrieved from http://onebusaway.org/ IBIS. (2010, September). Wireless Telecommunications Carriers in the US. Retrieved from http://www.ibisworld.com/ Mediamark. (2009, August). Cellular/Mobile Phones/Pdas. Mediamark. Retrieved from http://www.mriplus.com.proxy.lib.muohio.edu/site/index.aspx Mediamark. (2010, September). Fall 2009 Product Electronics. Rep. Mediamark. Retrieved from http://ureporter.mriplusonline.com/selectdemo.asp Parking and Transportation Services. (2010, September). Miami University. Retrieved from http://www.hdg.muohio.edu/ParkingAndTransportation/MiamiMetro/index.php Ruf, C. (2009). Magic Bus. Retrieved from http://mbus.pts.umich.edu/aboutus.php

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