Tampa's growth prompts changes to bike share program


Credit: Sean Barbeau, PhD, Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida is one of the nation's fastest growing cities and it's only getting bigger and likely more congested. Construction will soon begin downtown on a $3 billion commercial project and on the University of South Florida's new Morsani College of Medicine, boosting demand for alternative transportation options like bike share programs. Tampa is now the first city to offer real-time information on bike share locations within the OneBusAway mobile app.

The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida designed the feature that uses GPS to locate bike racks, their availability and even allows users to make a bike reservation. It also provides estimated arrival times for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) buses. OneBusAway already alerts HART riders of delays and serves as a trip planner.

CUTR collaborated with Coast Bike Share and USF Share-A-Bull, which has more than 700 bikes and 250 stations in downtown Tampa, St. Petersburg, and USF Tampa campus.

"Seeing real-time bike share and bus information in the same app will help travelers easily find the option that is best for them," said Sean Barbeau, PhD, Principal Mobile Software Architect at CUTR and lead software engineer for OneBusAway Android.

Barbeau served as a mentor to Rodrigo Carvalho from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) through Google's "Summer of Code," an international program designed for college students interested in cutting-edge open-source software projects. Together, they updated the OneBusAway app to include bike share locations.

A beta version of the bike share feature is now available in the OneBusAway Android app. It officially launches in early September. The original OneBusAway app is available in eight cities.


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