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As most of you know, we've been chatting recently with Grant Sparks, Senior Planner for CAT, about real-time tracking of Savannah's bus system. This is something most other regional transit organizations in other cities have already implemented, and it's also something Grant himself has experience putting in place in his previous role in Greenville, SC, where he worked with the Code for Greenville brigade to put together a trolley-tracking app for the city's trolley system (a project we very well could simply fork and go with).
While the ultimate goal would obviously be to have real-time tracking on all of CAT's bus fleet, because of funding arrangements and a current contractual relationship with a vendor, Grant said he thinks it'd be smartest to start off with the city's new purple trolley fleet (which currently has two vehicles, with two more planned), and will run through the entirety of the Historic District all the way south to Park Avenue at the southern end of Forsyth Park. The goal of the new trolley system is to lessen congestion downtown, and to provide a way for locals to get around more easily without having to deal with the hassle of finding parking or walking long distances in the southern heat. Many locals have expressed sentiments that they feel like going downtown is a chore currently, and they in turn prefer to avoid traveling to the downtown of their own city. Allowing this to become habit is akin to giving over control of the Historic District to the tourism industry alone, and also ignores the many vital public service offices that residents must travel downtown to do business with.
Obviously, because it also would serve tourists to some extent, there's a good deal more political and financial support for starting out with the trolley fleet. But the trolley fleet is not primarily intended as a project for the tourism industry. It is still open and public transit, and will act as a more efficient, frequent and dependable substitute for the current bus routes that criss-cross the Historic District in a rather haphazard fashion, often in an inefficient route through squares rather than taking shortcuts down alleys and side-streets that a larger bus can't easily handle.
We've started discussing some of the potential solutions to do this project, and Grant has said CAT can likely foot the bill for most of the hardware and infrastructure.
So, that said, I'll let Grant weigh in if he'd like, as well as open up discussion to everyone else.
Who has some feasible ideas for implementing a tracking system for the four vehicles in the new trolley fleet?
How well might those solutions scale to encompass the entire CAT fleet later down the line?