San Francisco Puts Brakes on an App for Transit - New York Times

A small team of volunteers took just 10 days last summer to create an Apple iPad app call SMART Muni that uses Global Positioning System technology to track all of San Francisco's buses in real time, allowing transit managers and passengers to monitor problems and delays. But now, 10 months later, the app is unused because the agency is $29 million over budget, cannot afford to buy the iPads required to run the software and San Francisco is unwilling to invest $100,000 to run a pilot program. [Read more of the story here]

On The Right Track
- CGI's response

Today, tracking vehicles is as easy as making a call with your cellphone. Although the technology has been used in the automobile industry for several years now, implementing it for use with municipalities can prove difficult because of high initial cost.

While it is quite useful to know the exact location of public transportation vehicles or if a delay has occurred, the fact that that they run on pre-scheduled routes makes things like the SMART Muni app more of a luxury than a necessity. That's not to say SMART Muni isn't on the right track. Integrating the right technology can help create better efficiency and actually save the client money.

Implementing a system that streamlines processes, automates procedures, reduces paperwork and verifies the licensing and training of vehicle drivers is a win-win for everyone. Transit systems operate smoother, passengers feel content and safety is enhanced. Municipalities worried about high costs quickly realize the staggering price they are paying by not utilizing a more efficient system, like the Vehicle Permission Switch that CGI Protects installed as a demonstration in an RTA bus in New Orleans. Technology like the VPS presents a unique opportunity for integration, as it has the dual advantage of locking out unauthorized users and can also be used to automate pre-usage checklists, much like pilots do in aircraft before takeoff.

All public transportation vehicles have government requirements for safety and systems like the VPS ensure compliance and accuracy of reporting. Unlike the SMART Muni app, it operates on a hardware unit with upgradable and preloaded software, creating a cost model that is managed as a low monthly charge per unit, making it extremely affordable and adaptable. Eventually, technology like the VPS is installed as the value of it can no longer be be denied and operating without it proves cost prohibitive.

If you're interested in finding out more about CGI Protect's Vehicle Permission Switch, please email us at or call 504.483.7811.