tramTRACKER now on Android
Tuesday 2 October 2012
Yarra Trams is proud to present tramTRACKER for Android.
Australian public transport's first real-time information service, tramTRACKER has come a long way since it was launched by Yarra Trams in 2006.
Initially released as a phone (IVR) and SMS service, tramTRACKER rapidly evolved into a free online service and in June 2009 it found a new market as an iPhone app.
Currently the popular tramTRACKER iPhone app is downloaded 20,000 times a month and the number of requests to tramTRACKER exceeds 800,000 a day.
With the surge in popularity of the Android operating system, we're pleased to be able to provide an official, supported application with many features not previously available to Android users.
tramTRACKER for Android is a free app available from Google Play (Marketplace).
Yarra Trams Marketing Manager Matt McDonell said: "We've built on the massive popularity of tramTRACKER for iPhone to develop an exciting new version which caters to the growing community of Android users."
"With more than half a million Melburnians using trams every day, we want to enhance the customer experience with even greater access to real-time tram arrival information," he said.
Developing the new version of tramTRACKER has not simply been a case of transporting the iPhone app across to Android.
"tramTRACKER Android is the result of extensive customer research, prototyping and field trials," said Prashanth Mullapudi, IT Business Analyst with Yarra Trams. "It's an app built by passengers for passengers," he said.
"We collected feedback from our customers and comments in online forums about what people like and don't like about the iPhone version. We did customer research and testing to bring a new design and added features to the Android version of tramTRACKER," he said.
Features of the tramTRACKER Android app include:
- Enhanced messages and alerts for disruptions or service updates
- Next three trams for each route with the ability to hide or expand your chosen route
- myTRAM - predicting the arrival time of each tram at your chosen stop
- Favourites with customised routes and stop names (e.g. work, home)
- A choice of preferred stop view - map or list
- Search feature for stops with shelters for when it is raining
- Display of nearby train, tram and bus connections
- Information about attractions and points of interest on the tram network
The new Android version of tramTRACKER has retained some of the most popular features of the iPhone app:
- Real-time tram arrival times for every stop on the Yarra Trams network
- Locate nearby myki ticket outlets using your phone's GPS
- Find nearby tram stops then save or group your favourite stops
- Accessible tram stop filter
- Filters to show only certain routes at shared stops and/or low floor trams only. Icons to show which trams are air-conditioned or low floor.
- Online help to guide new users
For the tech-heads
- Runs on Android OS 2.1 and above
- Graphics optimised to popular device screen sizes, resolutions and form factors, so the application scales to work on most tablets.
- Webservices use JSON instead of SOAP to ensure that less data is sent to and from the phone making tramTRACKER economical for both the user and Yarra Trams.
- Powered by mirrored databases and two IIS Servers that are load balanced and situated at two different Melbourne-based data centres.
- Enhancements to provide additional information such as "next three arrival time" information for a route with no additional server load.
- Due to CBD "canyoning" (interference), tramTRACKER does not utilise GPS, but rather draws predicted arrival times by calculating the distance of a particular tram from the stop the passenger is requesting. Trackside monitors transmit the tram's speed, direction of travel and the distance the tram has travelled from the terminus. This information is compared to the tram's schedule, as well as the time of day and other variables to make the prediction when the requesting device sends a four digit tramTRACKER ID.
- For increased accuracy of tracking, the myTRAM functionality of tramTRACKER Android uses the phone's GPS to track the progress of the tram on the route.
Yarra Trams worked with Melbourne-based company Appscore to develop the Android app.
Where to get tramTRACKER for Android
To download the free tramTRACKER Android app visit Google Play (Marketplace).
tramTRACKER was launched in 2006 (phone and SMS) with versions added in 2007 (online), 2009 (iPhone, mobile internet and desktop gadgets and widgets). With over one million users every month, tramTRACKERis now available:
- Free on Android phones
- Free on iPhone
- Free on mobile internet at tramtracker.com for Blackberries and other smart phones
- Free online at yarratrams.com.au
- Free desktop gadgets and widgets for your home or work computer - visit yarratrams.com.au/tramTRACKER
The original tramTRACKER services by SMS and phone (recorded voice) are still available (costs apply).
Published: Thursday 4 October 2012