Researchers in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University wanted to research the relationship between knowledge of public transportation options and class attendance among college students. As part of their study, they envisioned a mobile app that could provide information to students about available public transport—and reached out to Daruma Tech for help.
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University serves both students and active planning professionals though teaching, research, and community engagement. The Department’s mission is “to prepare planning professionals and researchers for national and global practice by promoting the ideals of social responsibility, sustainability, equity, diversity, and public service.”
Client: Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida Atlantic University
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Industry: Education and research
Daruma Tech Services Provided: : Fact-finding, app design, development, and maintenance.
As part of the department’s mission to engage and improve the quality of life in the surrounding community, researchers wanted to test a hypothesis: Would better knowledge about public transportation options improve class attendance and academic performance in commuting college students without access to cars? Supported by a grant from the Kresge Foundation, they designed a study to find out. As part of the study, a pilot group of students from three local colleges (FAU, Broward College, and Palm Beach State University) will be given a custom mobile app that provides real-time information on a range of public transportation options. FAU needed a partner to design and build the app—and called Daruma Tech.
As a member business of the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, Daruma Tech understands the needs and concerns of clients in education and research. The app had to be cost-effective, so we identified and integrated a range of trusted, off-the shelf mapping and tracking technologies, saving the time and expense of building them from scratch. The app also had to be appealing and user-friendly without enticing users into unnatural behaviors that could skew the study results. We collaborated closely with the FAU research team to ensure our design was easy to use, robust, and preserved the integrity of their study
Our solution was U-Ride—a mobile, multi-modal trip planning app covering South Florida. The app includes a range of convenient features:
- Trip-planning functionality that generates optimal commutes that can include scheduled public transportation, bicycling, walking, ride-hailing, or a combination of these.
- Real-time tracking of public transportation vehicles from four regional agencies and their estimated and actual arrival times
- Real-time information—such as alerts about service disruptions—from public transportation agencies.
- Personal accounts that let users save their most frequently used places, stops, and stations.
- React Native – Cross-platform mobile development framework to deploy iOS and Android applications.
- Open Trip Planner – multimodal journey planning system that runs algorithms that produce optimized trip planning options for our users.
- Various types and sources of data – Real-Time and Static General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) feeds of public transit agencies, General Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS) feeds for other micro-mobilities options, and APIs from other transportation agencies.