Downloadable applications offer riders service alerts, trip planning, timetables, directions, and more via a range of social media and direct channels.
Nassau Inter-County Express has rolled out an “app showcase” for riders to provide timely and useful information about using the bus system. The NICE App Showcase
is found by visiting www.nicebus.com
under the Passenger Information tab, which is viewable on mobile devices.
NICE is among the first transit systems in the U.S. to provide real-time service alerts on Google Maps for desktop and mobile users, joining systems in Boston, Portland, Honolulu, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and a small number of other early adopters. NICE worked with Brooklyn-based startup Roadify to build the Google Maps file.
The showcase will continue to expand as third-party app developers provide additional tools under NICE’s new open data policy, which makes NICE bus information freely accessible. In the first weeks of the NICE App Showcase, there have been thousands of visits and downloads. All but one of the available applications are free.
Among the feature-rich apps are tools that provide bus trip planning, timetables, “next scheduled bus” messages, service alerts and door-to-door directions. Other apps include a user-generated “social navigation” tool based on posts from transit system users, and several tools to communicate directly with government agencies.
NICE also recently launched a Twitter and Instagram page to provide another outlet for customers to communicate with the bus system. Of course, a key to accessibility is pushing information out through the full range of social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram,You Tube and Twitter.
“It’s a mobile world…and our goal is to use every communications tool we can to provide better, faster information to our customers,” said Mike Setzer, Chief Executive Officer of NICE. “Establishing our open data policy was a key first step to encouraging third-party developers to build great tools for our riders based on freely accessible NICE bus data.”
Setzer indicated that as the GPS-based NICE Integrated System (NIS) comes on board, these apps will supply even more specific, accurate and timely information about the NICE system, including next bus messages based on the actual location of the incoming bus. The core of NIS is Computer-Aided Dispatch and Automatic Vehicle Location systems that offer dozens of features and benefits that do not currently exist or function on NICE’s buses.
The NIS system will include an “air traffic control” type capability that will pinpoint the exact location of every bus at all times, significantly improving NICE’s ability to provide information to customers on adverse weather and other events that affect service. NIS will be installed on NICE’s entire fleet of 300 fixed-route buses, replacing antiquated systems that date back to 1998 currently on most of the buses.
Current NICE App Showcase tools include Nassau Now, Roadify, Google Maps, moovit, HopStop, Dadnab, Transit Times, Walk Score, Building America’s Future and The Transit App.