Ride the Bus
Bus riders in Boulder, CO, who find it difficult to navigate the mass transit system may soon be able to tear up their maps and schedules and use handheld computers instead. Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, working with Boulder-based software firm AgentSheets, are combining various technologies in a bid to restore independence to the cognitively disabled; eventually tourists might also use the system. Each traveler has a handheld computer and a cell phone. The handheld uses the phone to download Global Positioning System data transmitted by city buses, then determines the best route to the user’s destination. Software analyzes bus speed and direction and steers the user to the right bus, using arrows, images, and voice prompts. Future versions may combine GPS, cellular, and processing capabilities, eliminating the need for two separate devices.