Screenshot for DART app

Weekend round-up

Some stories you may have missed last week: DART launches safety and security app, UTA has a Facebook moment, and Transit app closes funding round.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (TX) has launched DART Say Something, a mobile application that enables riders to report safety and security concerns directly to DART police.  App users can submit incident reports with a photo, video, description of what is being reported, and the location of incident. DART partnered with ELERTS Corporation to develop the app.

“The safety of our riders, employees and property is our top priority, and we are always encouraging our riders to educate themselves about safety and security aboard transit vehicles. The DART Say Something app gives them a powerful tool to protect themselves and others, and enables riders to become an integral role in increased transit safety,” said James D. Spiller, chief of DART Police, in a statement. “In addition, the ability for my staff to receive immediate information as events unfold allows us to be more clearly informed and respond appropriately.”  DART also enabled a feature that can identify surveillance cameras near a reported incident, allowing dispatchers to view incidents in real time.

Some Utah Transit Authority board members are not happy. A $190 million bus rapid transit project in Provo and Orem is facing a projected cost overrun of $11.3 million. That would be bad enough, but some of the board members learned about the problem first through a Facebook post by Utah County Commission chairman Bill Lee. “This is seriously concerning to me,” board member Brent Taylor wrote, naturally, on Facebook, “when a Facebook post from someone outside UTA is the first time I learn about a very significant projected cost overrun on UTA’s largest construction project of the decade.” The apparent snafu occurred because an executive team oversees the project, not just UTA, and Lee is one of the team members. Link to full story in Salt Lake Tribune.

The mobile app Transit announced a $5 million series A round of funding. Accel is leading the round, along with Accomplice, Real Ventures, and the Business Development Bank of Canada. The app provides real-time arrival predictions for multiple modes of transportation, and has begun incorporating crowdsourced data into its estimate.  “We’ve been laser-focused on two things: making it easy to discover, compare, and combine services across multiple modes, and improving data quality so we become the most trusted source of information,” said chief operating officer Jake Sion. “Despite the wide availability of real-time transit data, the single biggest complaint we get from users is still that the bus didn’t come when we said it would. This is where we hope our continued work on crowdsourcing can make a big difference.”

Image source: ELERTS

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