$39K trolley tracking system headed for Deadwood

A new geographic information system (GIS) enhancement that allows city officials, residents, and visitors to track the Deadwood trolleys on their routes via app and desktop, improving service and enhancing efficiency, is slated to be up and running by mid-June. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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DEADWOOD — In order to more efficiently manage Deadwood’s trolley system and to provide better service to its transports, the city commission approved the purchase of up to $39,000 in products and services to assist in accomplishing this goal. The inaugural project’s name? Trolley tracker. Target tracking start date? Mid-June.

Approved Monday, were the purchase of a $19,000 GeoEvent server and professional engineering for development, training, and technical services at a cost not to exceed $20,000. Costs will be allocated from parking and transportation for $25,0000 and historic preservation for $14,000.

Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker explained that the purchases will provide geographical information services (GIS), tie in to existing GIS services used by the city, and go a step beyond, providing real-time tracking of the city’s trolley system and other vehicles.

“The Planning and Preservation Offices, along with the Parking & Transportation Committee, desire to create an online map in real-time for the trolley service, to better serve our visitors and to allow for better decision making and management of this asset,” Kuchenbecker said. “This is possible with ArcGIS GeoEvent Server Extension to our existing programs, which would allow the city to track dynamic assets that are constantly changing location, such as vehicles, trolleys, and city equipment. In addition, it will provide real-time situational awareness for coordinated field activities.”

The extension will allow the city to connect to a streaming data feed and show the latest information or location of the trolleys and other vehicles, in real time, as it occurs. The new server will include connectors for common data streams, including in-vehicle GPS devices, as well as social media providers, allowing not only better management, but, also for the general public, a real-time take on where the trolleys are.

“We’re excited about the capabilities,” Kuchenbecker said.

“So, you mean, I can download an app and track the trolley system?” asked commissioner Mark Speirs.

“Yes, exactly,” Kuchenbecker said.

The trolley tracker will have both public and private access points.

“The public side will allow residents and visitors to track the trolley on their route via mobile and desktop devices,” Kuchenbecker said. “The private portal will allow staff to monitor activities, such as if a trolley is off-route or if a stop is too long or too short, thus increasing the efficiency of the system.” 

When trolley locations change, patterns of interest are detected, or specified criteria are met, the program can automatically and simultaneously send alerts to key personnel, update the map, append a database, and interact with other enterprise systems. Alerts can be sent across multiple channels such as emails, texts, and instant messages to those who need them, whenever they need them.

Safety, Transportation, and Building Maintenance Supervisor Tom Kruzel said the new system will enable city officials to set up geofences around town. A geofence is like an invisible electronic line, that when crossed, sends out an alert.

“For example, we set one up at a predetermined location on the way up to the Lodge,” Kruzel said. “When the trolley crosses that line, it would announce over their intercom system that the trolley is arriving.”

Commissioner Gary Todd asked what the purchases will do for the city.

“Make us more efficient,” Kruzel said. “It will get people on the trolley when we need them on the trolley.”

He added that phone calls and complaints regarding wait times and service will likely also be reduced with the new trolley tracker system.

“I can see it increasing ridership,” said Speirs.

The trolley tracking system may eventually impact the city’s bottom line in a big way.

“Advertising on the trolleys is another possibility,” Kruzel said. “There is a very large potential, within two years, to make the trolley one-to-one and not be putting money into that, to make the trolley pay for itself.”


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