MTD Announces Tech Improvements in the New Year | January 13, 2023
While we are continuously striving to improve our service and enhance the customer experience, we are proud to say that this year, we’ve got a head start on our 2023 New Year’s resolution. We have two exciting technology improvements to share!
The first is an update to trip planning tools. We’ve worked with Google to integrate our robust real-time data with their travel planner (with updates sent every 30-60 seconds). Google has also started including MTD’s reroute alerts into their transit itineraries.
Google uses MTD’s shared vehicle positions and runs them through their algorithm to calculate departure estimates in Google Maps. However, while Google and MTD estimates are both based on the same underlying vehicle location data, they use different calculations in their predictions. This means there could be minor discrepancies between Google and our official estimates listed on MTD platforms (MTD.org, kiosks, the SMS service, etc.). MTD has tested these estimates and we’ve generally found Google to be within a minute or two of our predictions.
Our team hopes these developments will enhance your experience riding with us. We also expect the addition of reroute notifications within Google Maps to be a helpful feature for those who do not subscribe to our service alert system on mtd.org/account.
Our second improvement was our announcement that as of December 19, the new MTD Connect app, powered by Via, began scheduling trips for SafeRides service. If you have the old MTD connect app (by Routematch), it no longer functions, and should be removed from your device.
Get the new app at thrive.mtd.org/MTDconnect (We are in the process of removing the old app from the app store, but it is currently still listed. Please be sure to download MTD Connect powered by Via and remove the old app by Routematch.)
Remember, SafeRides does not travel outside of the SafeRides boundaries, duplicate fixed-route bus service already provided by MTD, accept more than three people per pick-up location, provide service to and from bars, or provide emergency transportation to medical facilities. Please call 9-1-1 for medical assistance.
When scheduling your trip in the MTD Connect app, your request may be denied if one or more of these issues are detected. Please call 217.384.8188 if you need assistance or have questions.
The purpose of SafeRides is to provide safe transportation to individuals who are generally traveling alone when no other means of safe transportation are available within the designated SafeRides boundaries. All rides with MTD are considered safe rides.
In addition to SafeRides, SafeWalks is another option if you're out late at night in Campustown. Managed by the University of Illinois Police Department and operated by Illinois students, the UI Police Student Patrol will meet faculty, staff, and students and walk with them to their home, a nearby bus stop, etc. The Student Patrollers receive training and have radio communication with police officers. You can contact SafeWalks at 217.333.1216.