UVic engineering students create transit app

Three engineering students would like to change how Greater Victorians catch the bus.

Adam Fleetwood, Rav Clair and Mike Holland, in their fourth year at the University of Victoria, unveiled their “My Next Bus” app, during the senior engineering students final project demonstrations March 25 at the school.

The smartphone-based software works with onboard Global Positioning Systems and allows users to determine any bus’s current location, arrival time and estimated capacity.

“They told us if we could make a predictive system, they would be interested,” said Fleetwood of his group’s pitch to B.C. Transit. “Basically they wanted to see if we were capable of doing something like this before we got into negotiations, and we were.”

The group’s original plan involved drivers checking in, but B.C. Transit was not interested in modifying its current technology. At this point, the software, which has not been tested on a full fleet, allows a user to view a location, but not the numbered route a vehicle may be on.

“It’s a real time as they can update the GPS data and send it to us,” Fleetwood added.

Currently, an estimated one-third of B.C. Transit’s buses in Greater Victoria are equipped with GPS.

B.C. Transit spokesperson Joanna Linsangan says discussions with the group are in very early stages.

The full scope of the system has yet to be tested, she added, noting that the company is interested in, at the very least, helping the engineers develop their product.

“We’re always looking for ways to make our information more accessible,” she said.

Fleetwood, Clair and Holland have been working on “My Next Bus” since January and were among the graduating students who presented 15 final projects in electrical, software and computer engineering.

nnorth@saanichnews.com