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NICE buses to add arrival tracking system

A new Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) bus in

A new Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) bus in Garden City. (Jan. 1, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

Nassau's bus operator is looking to install new technology on its vehicles that could allow customers to know exactly when their bus will arrive.

Veolia Transportation, which operates the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE), recently issued a request for proposals for a vendor to design, provide and install a new "intelligent/integrated transportation system" for the fleet of NICE and Able-Ride vehicles.

The system would allow NICE "to initiate a range of new features for passengers," Veolia spokesman Andrew Kraus said, while providing "real-time information to analyze and improve efficiency and performance."

The state-of-the-art technology, consisting of five components working together on each bus, would allow for real-time vehicle location and monitoring. Such a feature could let customers know, through a mobile application and electronic message boards at some bus stations, exactly how far away their next bus is and when it will arrive.

The system also would provide onboard electronic signs with route and schedule information, improved announcements and estimated arrival times.

Veolia also would use the system to gather information to improve service, including automatic passenger counts and mechanical performance. It would allow NICE to use an "air traffic control" approach with dispatchers able to track every vehicle in real time.

Kraus said bids are due by the end of January and a vendor will be chosen by June. The system is expected to be operational by late 2014.

The multimillion-dollar system would be funded through grants from the Federal Transit Administration, Kraus said.

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