Technology Engages Customers, Improves Travel Experience
DART innovates for next-level service
GoPass app to expand car-sharing integrationPlan a trip. Purchase a transit pass. Summon a driver for the last leg of a journey - all without leaving the GoPass app. That soon will be possible, thanks to a $1.2 million grant to DART from the Federal Transit Administration.
DART will use this grant to more fully integrate ride-sharing services into its GoPass ticketing app. The free app, which was introduced in September 2013, has been downloaded more than 500,000 times.
"This grant will allow us to provide more seamless integration with companies like Uber, Lyft and Zipcar, making our app that much more powerful," DART Chief Financial Officer David Leininger said.
The grant is from FTA's Mobility on Demand Sandbox Demonstration Program. This program is part of a larger research effort to support transit agencies and communities as they integrate new mobility tools like smartphone apps, bike and car sharing, and demand-responsive bus and van services.
Electric buses make for cleaner airSoon, North Texans will see a different kind of bus on the streets of Dallas. DART is awaiting delivery of seven all-electric Proterra EV buses. The agency received a $7.6 million grant from FTA's Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program to purchase the vehicles and the infrastructure to charge and maintain them.
The electric buses are slated to be used on D-Link, a route that connects arts, dining, cultural and entertainment destinations in Downtown Dallas and surrounding districts.
The Proterra EV buses, which should arrive in 2017, will join the electric light rail trains as zero-emission vehicles in DART's transit fleet. The electric battery technology is similar to that used on the Dallas Streetcar.
Bus shelters enhance customer communicationsDART is testing an innovative shelter design with added communications for bus customers. The agency has deployed three so far as a pilot program: one in southern Dallas, one in northern Dallas and a third in Irving.
"We targeted high-traffic areas to test the enhanced bus shelters," said Jennifer Jones, DART planning and development project manager II. "We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from our customers and will continue to evaluate other areas that may be a good fit."
These shelters maximize the use of solar power. Electronic signage lets customers know the estimated arrival time of their bus without having to use their smartphone or call customer service. Security cameras add a safety feature. The shelters even have back-lit signs, which offer the potential for advertising revenue.
Touchscreen map connects travelers to transitPassengers can figure out the best way to their destination with a new interactive kiosk near baggage claim at Dallas Love Field airport. DART worked with CHK America to develop the kiosk.
"This intuitive touchscreen technology makes it easier for our customers to explore their transit options and choose the mode or modes of transportation that best suits their needs," said Nevin Grinnell, DART vice president and chief marketing officer.
Solar power illuminates bus stopsDART has more than 60 solar-powered LED-lit bus stops located in areas with limited ambient light, good ridership and safety concerns. The agency hopes to install more solar lights at stops to better draw the bus operators' attention.
In the Bishop Arts District, DART installed a more advanced version. Called the Bright-Up PV-Stop, the solar-powered light is located at a bus stop in a well-shaded spot along Route 723 Bishop Arts Service. The Bright-Up unit improves security with dusk-to-dawn lighting as well as a flashing beacon for stop recognition.
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