MTA subway sign at Times Square station

Weekend round-up

Some stories you may have missed last week: New safety app for St. Louis transit riders, more MTA countdown clocks, and partnership for autonomous bus technology.

Citizens for Modern Transit launched a safety program for transit riders in St. Louis (MO).  CMT members and transit users who sign up will have a free one-year subscription to the SafeTrek mobile application. Originally designed for use on college campuses, SafeTrek enables individuals to notify law enforcement when they feel unsafe.

Here’s how it works: If users are feeling scared, they open the app and hold down the button on the screen.  Once they feel safe, they release the button and enter a PIN. If the threat continues, they release the button without entering the PIN and a connected call center will contact the police and remain in contact via text message. “Placing a phone call is not an option in all emergencies, and in those instances, it’s nearly impossible for 911 to locate an individual and get them the help they need,” said Nick Droege, co-founder of SafeTrek, in a statement. “SafeTrek is able to pinpoint a user’s exact location and live streams it directly to 911 dispatchers and first responders, even if the user is unable to place a call or text. This can prove to be particularly helpful to those in transit.”  SafeTrek works throughout the U.S. and costs $29.99 for an annual subscription.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NY) added countdown information for four additional subway lines.  The MTA uses Bluetooth technology and the WiFi networks already in place for customer use to provide the updates, which are now live for the D-F-J-Z lines. “Real-time arrival information is no longer just a nice amenity to have – it’s a necessity at a time when our customers are accustomed to having access to information in their hands almost immediately,” said MTA chairman Joseph Lhota in a statement.  With the addition of these stations, 419 of the system’s 472 subway stations now offer real time arrival information.

EasyMile has teamed with multiple industry partners to develop technology for an autonomous full-size bus. “Each customer has specific needs and we are working with different vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to integrate the best technologies, platforms, and processes to address different use cases,” said Gilbert Gagnaire, CEO of EasyMile, in a statement. “These synergies will definitely create value for customers.” The company, which has launched driverless shuttles, has joined forces with IVECO, Sector, Transpolis, ISAE-SUPAERO, Ifsttar, Inria, and Michelin.

Photo credit: Susan Mara Bregman

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