Distributed Transit Rider Messaging

Source Organization:
University:Carnegie Mellon University
Principal Investigator:Aaron Steinfeld
PI Contact Information:
Project Manager:Courtney Ehrlichman
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization):Research and Innovative Technology Administration, University Transportation Centers Program, US Department of Transportation
Total Dollars:$202,754
Agency ID/Contract/Grant Number:DTRT12GUTC11
Start and End Dates:February 2012 - December 2013
Project Status:Complete
Subject Categories:
Abstract:Uncertainty, lack of transit system awareness, and feelings of isolation have negative impact on all riders, regardless of abilities, thereby reducing community livability and transit demand. Lower transit demand, in turn, decreases economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability. Our goal is to facilitate information sharing as a means of improving the transit experience of all riders, especially for those who cannot drive. Our system, Tiramisu (“pick me up” in Italian), is a social-mobile computing system intended to connect riders and transit service providers using universal design. Tiramisu’s development has been funded by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transit and the Traffic21 program. It has been deployed since the summer of 2011 through a spinout company Tiramisu Transit, LLC and is available to the public at We are currently advancing Tiramisu by implementing a rider-to-rider and rider-to-agency messaging system to help improve rider and agency awareness of current transit system state. We will adapt this system to support safety related messaging and information sharing with other CMU-Penn UTC systems. The system will allow riders to report situations observed and for the transit agency to push out critical news to riders who may be impacted by an unfolding situation.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented):
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated):It is too early to quantify actual impacts and benefits. Research is currently in progress on the efficiency and ease of use of the team’s safety-related content acquisition tools.
Project URL: