Miami-Dade bus drivers find ‘Clever’ way to communicate

Miami-Dade bus drivers find ‘Clever’ way to communicate
This driver of the Route 56 bus uses “Clever.”
Miami-Dade bus drivers find ‘Clever’ way to communicate
This driver of the Route 56 bus uses “Clever.”

Affectionately referred to as “Clever,” the Computer Aided Dispatch/Automated Vehicle Locator system has been implemented on all of Miami-Dade Transit’s buses.

The fleet now has moved upwards into a new level of service capability as it has replaced its obsolete communications system with “Clever.”

It is so named after the company responsible for its design and installation, Clever Devices. The company is an industry leader and has fitted cities like Chicago, Portland, New Jersey and Orlando with Intelligent Transportation Systems or ITS.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez originally were responsible for leading the county to accept the technology, which is incredibly helpful to riders of the bus network and also its drivers.

One bus driver interviewed mentioned that he appreciated how the system provided guidance about his route.

“When there’s a detour or I’m on a new route, it tells me where to turn,” he said.

The system provides the riders with real-time data on the time that the buses they wish to use are scheduled to arrive and when the buses are scheduled to arrive at their destination. If there is a delay, a rider alert appears in the software. It all is available from the Miam-Dade Transit website or on the system’s Bus Tracker App. The app is available for android and iPhone and is a free download.

The system consists of computer software, hardware and communications links. The software looks like a regular GPS screen and hangs to the bus driver’s left above the rear-view mirror. It shows the location of the bus relative to the next stop, the current time along with the time that the bus should be at the next stop and the bus’ communications status. The hardware on the buses looks like a tablet. Then, there is a communications link between the buses and the traffic controllers.

What are invisible to the riders are the servers and communication devices located at the fleet’s three garages and two maintenance facilities. These ensure that maintenance and emergency personnel can respond to any communication initiated by the bus driver quickly.

According to the contract between the county and the company, Clever provides many benefits to the fleet’s riders. First of all, it is integrated with the county’s advanced traffic management system to facilitate “Transit Signal Priority,” or TSP. TSP means that buses are allowed priority passage through signalized intersections by extending green lights to improve the buses’ on-time performance. The intersections are along Kendall Drive, State Road 836, Flagler Street, Biscayne Boulevard and Douglas Road.

Also thanks to Clever, bus drivers can communicate with transit controllers about emergency conditions, vehicle diagnostics and other alerts.

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