Tiramisu, a new iphone application, allows bus riders in Pittsburgh, USA, to track their current location while riding the bus and, in turn, share this information with people who are still waiting, thereby creating a more complete map and schedule of bus routes and times.
The app requires that the rider activate the tracker in order to see when the next bus is due to arrive as well as its current “fullness”, which can be registered by riders. When he or she boards, the application sends the bus’ location to the main server so other riders can tell where that particular bus is and when it will arrive.
This same data can eventually be used by the city or county transit authorities to improve travel times and inform riders of slow buses. It allows cash-strapped transit systems to add GPS functionality to their lines.
“While better funded transit systems, such as those in Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, can afford to make GPS-based information available to riders in real-time, the Allegheny County system is under tremendous budget pressure,” Steinfeld said. “Under such circumstances, a free, crowdsourced system such as Tiramisu offers an important alternative.”