Campus, News

BU introduces comprehensive transportation app

Boston University’s new transportation app, Terrier Transit, will allow students to access transit schedules and find their nearest transportation options.

Boston University’s new transportation app, Terrier Transportation, gives students information about transit schedules and the nearest transportation options such as the BU Shuttle or MBTA buses and trains, as well as Bluebikes and Zipcar. ILLUSTRATION BY LAURYN ALLEN

The app includes information on the BU Shuttle, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority trains and buses, Bluebikes and Zipcar.

Before the app was created, students could use the BU Mobile app to find nearby shuttles, but the app did not include tracking for any other form of transportation.

Carl Larson, assistant director of BU Transportation Planning and Demand Management, said the University worked with a company called Moovit to create the app.

“[Moovit] works with different municipalities all over the world to create this type of app,” Larson said. “The difference with our app is that the BU Shuttle info is not available on other apps.”

Users can receive notifications about unexpected transit disruptions, according to BU’s Parking and Transportation Services website.

The app allows users to compare transit options and find what’s best for them, Larson said.

“We wanted something that would allow people to compare their options,” Larson said, “and really figure out whether it made sense to walk or maybe to ride a bike or take the shuttle.”

Larson said he enjoys seeing all the options in one place.

“What I really like about it is being able to just turn it on, and it knows where I am and where the nearest Green Line stop, bus station and shuttle stop and Bluebike station is,” Larson said. “I don’t have to go sniffing around to all these different places to understand what’s around me.”

Terrier Transit works in 98 other countries, according to the Parking and Transportation Services website.

Larson said he recommends students experiment with the app’s functions.

“Try the different means of getting around,” Larson said. “If you don’t have a Bluebikes membership, definitely get them. It’s the fastest way around the city.”

BU has been working on the app for a little more than a year, Larson said, but updates or changes to the app may be necessary.

“As the school year starts, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are tweaks that we identify needing to make,” Larson said. “If the app developer releases improvements to their app, we’ll get those as well.”

The app shows live arrival times based on the train or bus’s current location unless there is a transmitter problem. Larson said the app should be “reflecting live reality” of where the shuttle is and when it should arrive.

A Zipcar Spokesperson wrote in an email that the service helps provide mobility during the pandemic.

“With the pandemic impacting many mobility providers in Boston,” the spokesperson wrote, “Zipcar continues to provide BU students, faculty, staff and community members with flexible, convenient, and cost-effective access to cars when they need them.”

Zipcar’s new Instant Access feature will allow students to start driving a Zipcar within minutes of signing up for the feature, the spokesperson wrote.

Kim Foltz, transportation manager for the Boston Department of Transportation, wrote in an email that Bluebikes allows users to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“[Bluebikes] provides an affordable way to get around,” Foltz wrote, “while allowing riders to maintain physical distance from other travelers.”

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