05/26/04 — Gateway asked to participate in pilot program

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Gateway asked to participate in pilot program

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 26, 2004 2:00 PM

The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority was asked Monday to join a pilot program aimed at making rural public transportation more efficient.

"We would be using advanced technology to provide better transportation at a reduced cost," said Jim Daughtry, a planner with the Eastern Carolina Rural Planning Organization.

A federal grant would allow the regional transportation office to buy computer software to manage daily activities, schedule trips and use a satellite-based mapping program to coordinate routes.

The new system would allow each participating system to view trips or routes being made by the other transit systems, coordinate trips with the other counties and share passengers.

"By having a joint database, we could see when others were going through the same area, and there would be cost savings," Daughtry said.

The system would also give rural transit operators, who use paper maps or rely on local knowledge of an area when planning trips, access to computerized maps.

The program would include seven transit systems that serve the following nine counties: Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico and Wayne.

Daughtry believes the 30-month project will be primarily funded by a federal grant.

"At this time, there's no cost to counties or cities," he said. "It looks like we'll get the grant." Daughtry asked that Gateway commit to the program by next month.

Gateway board members agreed to review the proposal and vote next month on whether to participate.