By Greg Bartlett
Several colleges, including Harvard, MIT, and Tufts University, are adding GPS vehicle tracking to their campus shuttles so that students can make better use of their time and still catch the buses to get from one side of campus to another.
In all of these cases, the buses are supposed to run on some sort of schedule. Yet, students often end up waiting an extended period of time for a bus to arrive for pickup and drop off at another area. Extended wait times often lead to overcrowding on some shuttle buses and not enough passengers to justify the running of others.
If students are able to look at a web site and learn where the shuttle buses are located at any given time, along with the average speed of travel, the students can time their leaving of their dorm rooms to coincide with them arriving at the shuttle stop as or just before the bus arrives. This can provide students with a few extra minutes of study time that they would not have if waiting at a crowded bus stop for the next shuttle.
Transportation problems have been one of the foremost difficulties faced by college students, especially those attending larger universities for many years. In many cases, where a candidate for student government stood on the issue of GPS vehicle tracking to improve the transportation has been the deciding factor that won or lost the election.
Tufts was one of the first to install GPS vehicle tracking device on their campus transportation buses. Other universities are looking at the system they have in place and modeling their own systems based on this one because it has been shown to work. Students are not showing up late for class and blaming it on the shuttle system nearly as often, because anyone can check the location of shuttles and arrange to meet the last one that will ensure timely arrival at the building where the class is located. There are really no excuses for tardiness based on the transportation system at these universities anymore.
Other colleges and universities that operate shuttle buses to carry students from one part of campus to another could do well looking at the models established by these universities for GPS vehicle tracking of these buses. Steady improvements in the transport system can lead to steady improvements in student grades and attendance records throughout the campus.