Designer Creates Comprehensive Transit Map for NYC

Designer Creates Comprehensive Transit Map for NYC

New York City’s famous public transport system is known for being a lot of things, but simple isn’t one of them. Even for longtime residents of the city, finding the quickest route from one destination to another can be challenging. The complexity of the NYC transit system has been compounded by the fact that the city’s Metro Transit Authority (MTA) has never created a map that includes both subway lines and bus routes. Instead, riders must consult different maps to see all the different components that comprise the city’s massive public transit system.

Soon, however, thanks to New York City native and professional designer Anthony Denary, transit riders may finally be able to see all their available bus routes and subway lines in one simple map. Denary calls it the “Bullet Map,” and he’s recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund both an app and a printed version of the map. So far, he’s generated more than half of his $8,000 fundraising goal.

Denary was inspired to design the map based on his experiences growing up in Queens. Although he had spent years transferring from the Q5 bus line to the E train in Jamaica, he had never seen a complete picture of the city’s bus map. After drafting his own map, he realized that there were more efficient transit routes around the city that he’d never been aware of. Now, he’s hoping that his map will help to alleviate transit “tunnel vision” so that other people can find new, faster routes around the city as well. Ultimately, he hopes the map might even be adopted by the MTA.

Next time you’re visiting The City That Never Sleeps, be sure to keep an eye out for the Bullet Map app to make your travels a little easier.

French Startup Raises $34M for Its Autonomous Electric Bus

French Startup Raises $34M for Its Autonomous Electric Bus

Although we deal in buses powered by conventional fuels, we always like to stay informed when we hear of a cool company making new waves in the electric bus industry. Today, we’re here to tell you about a French startup that recently raised a whopping $34 million to fund the development of its autonomous electric bus.

Navya, a research company based in France, has been developing its self-driving bus, the Arma, for a full decade. The bus finally debuted in October of this year in its first trials in Lyon, France. In its first test run, passengers were treated to an autonomous bus ride that sped up to 28 miles per hour, covered five stops and lasted about 13 minutes from the first stop to the last.

Navya’s self-driving technology relies on a series of sensors that are embedded into the bus’s infrastructure. These sensors are what allow the bus to interact with and respond to its environment. While the current test path does not include obstacles like crosswalks, regular traffic, or lots of pedestrians, the success of the test will be a good indication as to whether or not this service will fit Lyons’s commuter needs.

In their latest round of funding, Navya has raised over 30 million dollars to expand their project internationally and continue additional research and development. They’re now collaborating with a number of other companies to see how they can adapt this bus technology for use in other major cities. We’ll have to keep an eye on Navya’s progress to see how their next phases of testing go.

In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a bus that still requires a human driver, head on over to our inventory page to see what’s available.

Las Vegas Gets a New Mobile Transit App

Las Vegas Gets a New Mobile Transit App

There’s some exciting news for public transit riders here in Las Vegas! The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) has released a new smartphone app that makes it easier than ever to purchase tickets and find bus routes around the city.

 

The app, rideRTC, was developed in a partnership with Masabi, a London-based technology company whose JustRide mobile ticketing platform is used by more than 25 other transportation agencies around the globe. Using rideRTC, commuters and visitors to Las Vegas can locate bus stops, track buses in real time, and purchase transit passes in advance.

“RTC Transit takes you where Vegas takes you, yet potential riders, especially visitors, may not know where to find bus stops, how transit can get them to their destinations, or how to buy tickets,” said RTC general manager Tina Quigley in a statement. “The new rideRTC app removes all of these challenges visitors face in a new city and puts the information conveniently in the palm of their hand.”

In addition to the app’s bus-based functionality, rideRTC can be used to help people find a number other forms of transportation as well. Users can plan rides with Uber, for example, or find RTC Bike Share locations around the city. By the end of the year, RTC transit vehicles will all have electronic readers to validate mobile passes from the app.

In an effort to encourage people to try the new app, the RTC has also announced that it will be partnering with AT&T to give users the chance to win a $150 Visa gift card. Each person who downloads the app will be entered into a drawing that runs until the April 30, 2017. Take it for a spin, and let us know what you think!

Proterra Reveals New Electric Bus With 350-Mile Range

Proterra Reveals New Electric Bus With 350-Mile Range

Little cars aren’t the only ones getting in on the electric vehicle action. This fall, Proterra, an electric bus maker that’s become one of the most recognizable names in zero-emission bus design, will release its latest model, the E2 Max.

According to Electrek, the E2 Max was designed to handle the “daily mileage needs of nearly every U.S. mass transit route on a single charge,” which means these buses can be implemented even in the busiest cities where buses trek many miles back and forth on a single route. The newly designed battery pack in this model can store between 440 and 660 kilowatts of power, which translates into a range of about 200 to 350 miles, depending on terrain. Proterra has reported, though, that they’ve managed to drive one of these buses more than 600 miles on a single charge!

Proterra’s previous battery pack was only about 330 kilowatts, so the extra power in the new model will definitely give it an edge in the market. The larger battery in conjunction with a lightweight design and a “regenerative braking system” is what gives the bus the ability to travel such great distances on a charge.

While new electric cars and buses may someday revolutionize environmentally-friendly transportation, they won’t come cheap. This list price of an E2 Max is about $799,000, which is about twice what you’d pay for a brand new fuel-powered bus of the same size.

Proterra hopes to see many of these buses on the road in the coming years, and they’re already on the right track in Los Angeles. LA’s Foothill Transit has announced that it will be 100 percent electric by 2030 to help reduce the amount of pollutants in the air, and the Proterra E2 Max is one of the buses LA public transit riders may see on the road early next year.

For more information on Las Vegas bus sales, call us today at (877) 456-9804, or check out our current inventory online.

Old School Buses get a New Lease on Life in Central America

Old School Buses get a New Lease on Life in Central America

Have you ever driven past a parking lot full of old school buses and wondered what becomes of them in their old age? Well, they don’t just sit around in a junkyard forever. You might be interested to learn about what Guatemalans call “chicken buses.”

Once an American school bus has been shuttling kids around from home to school to soccer games for about ten years, or when they reach about 150,000 miles on their odometers, they’re resold to places like Guatemala where they’re prepared for their “second lives.”

After some engine rebuilds, seating reconfigurations, and some seriously cool paint jobs, these yellow student-carriers are turned into off-roading buses that carry Guatemalans and their belongings from rural areas into city centers, where they trade goods to make money, go to work, go to school and live their lives.

The name “chicken bus” may come from one of two places—some say that the buses are called “chicken buses” by the locals because they are so packed with people they look like livestock trucks. Others say that these buses earned their name because they are often actually used to transport live animals, like chickens.

Either way, these very special buses, are given colorful new lives in South America thanks to the efforts of their devoted drivers. Although if you take a look at the video below, I think you’ll agree our kids’ school bus drivers tend to play it a little safer when it comes to obeying the rules of the road!

 

Stay Safe When Sharing the Road With School Buses

Stay Safe When Sharing the Road With School Buses

With summer vacation over and buses hitting the roads again to shuttle kids back to school, here at Las Vegas Bus Sales we thought it might be a good idea to go over some safety tips for sharing the road with school buses.

 

Safety Starts With Preparedness

When you’re sharing the road with a school bus, you should always be prepared to make sudden stops and turns. Make sure to give the bus plenty of space; increase your normal following distance significantly, and pay attention to the bus’s turn signals.

When you see a bus unload kids, take your time re-accelerating. Wait to make sure you know exactly where those kids are going before you drive away. You don’t want one of them to make a sudden turn into the street with your foot already on the gas pedal. Give the kids plenty of time to walk to where they need to be, and wait for the bus driver’s signal. The bus driver usually knows where the kids are supposed to be, so they’ll give them enough time to get there with the bus’s stoplights flashing before driving away.

School buses are required to come to a full stop at railroad tracks, so keep that in mind. You should also remember that school buses tend to travel at slower speeds in the mornings and afternoons, since they’re usually packed with kids.

Keep in mind that the large size of a school bus gives you limited visibility around it. Follow the bus’s lead: when the stop sign is out and the lights are flashing, stop, whether you are in front of the bus, or driving in opposing traffic. If you’re at an intersection, it’s best to wait and let the bus make its move first before you drive on.

Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for competitively-priced used school buses – Las Vegas Bus Sales.

Study Finds Transit Riders Value Service Over Amenities

Study Finds Transit Riders Value Service Over Amenities

In recent years, transit companies all across the country have begun installing a variety of amenities such as Wi-Fi routers and charging stations in buses to try to incentivize ridership. It’s a strategy that makes sense in theory, given our ever-increasing dependence on handheld electronics and Internet connectivity. In practice however, it may not be as effective as transit services would hope. According to a new report from research group TransitCenter, Wi-Fi routers might be nice frills, but it’s fast, reliable service that riders really want.

The researchers surveyed more than 3,000 respondents from 17 regions throughout the country about what kinds of improvements they’d like to see from their local transit services. Options included power outlets, Wi-Fi connections, shelters designed for bad weather conditions, cheaper fares and more frequent service.

The survey found that the two most important determining factors in rider satisfaction are service frequency and travel times. Real-time ride updates and improved shelters were also high on the list for many respondents. Wi-Fi connections and power outlets, on the other hand, were the least important factors for rider satisfaction.

While this doesn’t mean that transit companies should abandon amenities like Wi-Fi service altogether, it does suggest that they would have better luck increasing ridership rates by investing in service improvements first. Commuters don’t expect much in the way of bells and whistles from their buses and subway systems. What they really want is a service they can count on to get them where they need to go, when they need to be there.

Mercedes-Benz Reveals Its Take on the Self-Driving Bus

Mercedes-Benz Reveals Its Take on the Self-Driving Bus

Even luxury automakers are taking a stab at the autonomous vehicle market these days. Mercedes-Benz is the latest to throw their hat in the ring with an eye-catching design appropriately named “Future Bus.” Featuring sleek lines and expansive window panes, the design truly does look like the bus of tomorrow. Leave it to Mercedes to make a great-looking vehicle.

But the Future Bus is about more than just aesthetics; it’s built to be uncommonly efficient as well. The Future Bus uses Mercedes’ proprietary CityPilot technology that was originally introduced two years ago for the company’s self-driving Actros truck. CityPilot is capable of detecting and recognizing different objects on the road and communicating with a city’s local infrastructure. This means that the FutureBus will not only be able to predict when traffic lights are going to change, but also provide cities with valuable data about wear and tear in their roads.

In the FutureBus, CityPilot is programmed to automatically stop at bus stops along its route. The designers at Mercedes-Benz note that their self-driving software offers a gentle, smooth ride that allows riders to comfortably stand on the bus during busy commutes. The bus has a top speed of 70 km/hr (about 45 mph).

In July, the FutureBus passed its first major road test when it navigated more than 20 kilometers on complex section of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route in the Netherlands. While a driver had to be at the wheel in order to maintain legal compliance, the bus was able to gracefully complete the route on its own. The next step for Mercedes-Benz will be to start implementing the FutureBus on select BRT routes in Europe for further testing. Meanwhile, other companies are trialing similar technologies here in the United States as well.

VR School Bus Gives Students a Chance to Visit Mars

VR School Bus Gives Students a Chance to Visit Mars

In addition to their applications in gaming, virtual reality platforms have gained a lot of interest from the educational community in recent years. Imagine teaching engineering students how to work on complex equipment in a virtual laboratory, for example.  Or teaching history students about the Civil Rights Movement by allowing them to sit in on the court cases where landmark decisions were made. The only trouble with virtual reality experiences is that they’re usually limited to one person wearing a headset. That’s why Generation Beyond, an educational subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, has turned a school bus into a huge, mobile virtual reality platform that allows a whole classroom of students to take a shared tour of Mars. They call the bus the Mars Experience

Each of the windows in the bus was replaced with a transparent 4K display and a layer of glass film which becomes opaque when an electric current is applied to it. This lets the vehicle transform from an ordinary school bus to a roving VR platform at the flip of a switch. Once the VR is enabled, the simulation begins tracking the movement of the bus to create a dynamic virtual experience. Each time the bus turns, hits a bump in the road or changes speed the simulation of Mars reacts accordingly. The system’s designers mapped their simulation onto the streets of Washington, D.C. so the bus can move freely around the city while maintaining the virtual environment in a 250 square mile area.

The simulation was designed by Framestore, the same VFX studio that created many of the landscapes in the sci-fi thriller The Martian. In addition to the VR-enabled window panels, the team also outfitted the bus with a surround sound system to add an extra layer of immersion to the experience.

To learn more about what went into the creation of the Mars Experience, check out this video from the design team!

 

There’s a New Bus in Town on the Streets of D.C.

There’s a New Bus in Town on the Streets of D.C.

While transit officials in the Washington, D.C. have been working overtime to repair the city’s aging subway system, a new kind of bus with some serious personality is making its debut in the nation’s capital. It’s called Olli, and it’s got the brain of IBM’s Watson computing system.

Olli might be smaller than other buses in the city, but it’s a whole lot smarter. So smart, in fact, that it doesn’t need a human driver. Passengers can hail the little bus from an app similar to Uber or Lyft. Once Olli picks them up, they simply ask the bus to take them to their destination, and off they go. Using an array of 30 sensors and its Watson-powered brain, Olli is able to continually collect and analyze transportation data, allowing it to make quick decisions and get better at navigating busy city streets.

Olli was created by American automotive startup Local Motors – a company that focuses on innovative open-source vehicle designs. Rather than build Olli with conventional manufacturing processes, Local Motors chose to 3D print most of its components instead. This allows replacement parts to be printed at local shops, rather than shipped in from elsewhere. The company has built “micro factories” to accomplish this goal in Germany, Arizona, Tennessee and Maryland.

According to EcoWatch, Local Motors is currently working with cities in at least 50 other countries who are also interested in Olli’s unique approach to bus transit. You can learn more about this smart little bus in the video from Local Motors below!