Category Archives: Transportation

Smartphones will track bus movements

Our county’s public transport authority promises that this Spring, county buses will report their real-time locations and estimated times of arrival. Read MyRide Broward – Broward County Transit’s Real Time Program.

By using MyRide to know when the next bus is going to arrive, you can minimize time spent waiting for a bus. You will know when to leave home or the office in order to meet the bus.

In addition to using the dedicated smartphone app, I hope that riders may use universal apps such as moovit to display arrival information.
The system sounds terrific.  According to its vendor,

ISR FleetTrack Passenger Information Software is a flexible system for the creation and broadcasting of transit related content to provide dynamic passenger information at stops, shelters, in-vehicle, terminals and any other point of presence such as:

At work or at home – real-time information via the Internet
On the way to the stop – real-time information via cellular phone
At the stop –real-time information on electronic display and by means of audio announcements
On the bus/in the tram – real-time information on electronic display

The information is transmitted from the ISR FleetTrack Server to the SPM (onboard computer) online via cellular communication, then passed on to the information display. This includes information such as:

Route – entire route path and destination stop is represented, not just the next stop.
Journey times – passenger knows how long his trip is predicted to take.
Transfer advice – informs the passenger of the possibilities for changing to different modes of transport.
Transfer times – indication of the next transfer times for buses, trams and trains simplify the journey for the passenger.

Features Include:

On-Board passenger voice enunciation such as current and next stop
External voice enunciation within bus stop and terminal
On-Board passenger route progression or intersecting routes display
Route and destination display on front and side bus signs
Passenger information displays at bus stops
Multi-Route display of next two bus arrivals

The system is being installed by Integrated Systems Research Corp., a company that’s headquartered in Israel. Their U.S. headquarters is in Baltimore, and they’ve opened an office near Fort Lauderdale. Also, isrfleettrack.com Here’s ISR’s video:

I know nobody within the Broward County Transit Authority, so I’m just guessing based upon what I can find on the web. Apparently this kind of system is called an intelligent transportation systems (ITS). It appears that ISR’s ITS is a complete fleet management system that will include

  • improved bus maintenance scheduling
  • “CAD” (computer aided dispatch)
  • route planning
  • security.automated vehicle location (AVl)
  • real time passenger information (RTIS)
  • automatic passenger counters (APC)
  • automatic voice annunciators (AVA)
  • interactive voice response (IVR) systems

This system — if it works — could be terrific. We’ll see. If it succeeds here and elsewhere, it could help fix our transport mess.

Recyclable Bicycle Exchange

I believe in recycling. So does Jeff Torkelson, who’s a generous Fort Lauderdale cyclist who additionally believes in giving to his community — and he has acted on his beliefs. Jeff created the Recyclable Bicycle Exchange (“RBX”) in Fort Lauderdale to convert unwanted and/or unneeded bicycles into dreams come true for kids who otherwise couldn’t own bikes.

Recyclable Bicycle Exchange and Jeff TorkelsonI first met Jeff in 2013 when he came to the Marino Campus to introduce the students to the Broward B-cycle bicycle sharing system. Jeff is its founder and manager. He gave away free bike helmets; I still use mine almost every day.

Our local newspaper, The Sun Sentinel, published in December an article titled Bike exchange turns trash into treasures about Jeff and RBX. It explains,

He decided he wanted to give back to the community after his father died of cancer five years ago. The idea for the exchange came about when Torkelson started volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.

“Here were children living lives where it was considered ordinary not to have a bike,” said Torkelson, 47. “I always thought every kid had a bike, that it was part of growing up.”

Future RBX mechanicOn the RBX website, Jeff defines the RBX mission:

To supply quality and safe bikes to the kids (big kids too) of South Florida, including the kids of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County (BBBS), as a means of introducing an entertaining activity that promotes an active lifestyle.

The Recyclable Bicycle Exchange Facebook page contains RBX news and reviews . . . and big smiles on little cyclists.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Alex Moulton’s remarkable designs

I’ve always admired Englishman Alex Moulton’s innovative solutions to thorny mechanical problems. His compact, lightweight, and simple elastomeric “donut” suspension design allowed the BMC Mini car of 1959-1970 to provide amazingly spacious interior room compared to its tiny exterior dimensions. Then he re-thought the humble bicycle, which resulted in a compact frame with tiny wheels and . . . elastomeric donut suspension.

Moulton BicycleWikipedia’s biography Like most memorable inventors, when searching for solutions, Alex Moulton returned to first principles. Though Dr. Moulton died in 2012, his Moulton Bicycle Company continues to manufacture his unique bikes.

loudspeaker iconHere’s a well-done audio program about Moulton bicycles, including Dr. Moulton’s commentary:

I’ve cycled through Moulton’s lovely canalside town of Bradford on Avon (and its surrounding hills). It’s beautiful country for bicycle touring. That’s why it’s remarkable that Moulton bikes are so maneuverable on crowded city streets.

Brief BBC video biography (1min 42sec)

Obituary, The Telegraph (UK) 2012

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695