Vehicle arrival time is one of the most important factors of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Accurate transit travel information is important because it attracts additional customers and increases the satisfaction of transit users. A passenger waiting for a train or bus, a person waiting for a cab, a customer waiting for a courier to come to his/her home to pickup or deliver a package, a business office waiting for a truck for goods and a home user waiting for his/her shipment for which he/she did online shopping are a few examples of how important vehicle arrival time is in different areas of life. Most companies are investing a lot of money to improve their systems for better, faster and reliable customer service. As the cost of ITS components have decreased, the automatic vehicle location (AVL) system, which is one component of ITS, has become more widely used. Many transit agencies use an AVL system to track their vehicles in real-time. Tracking systems technology was made possible by the integration of three technologies: global positioning system (GPS), global system for mobile communication (GSM) and the geographic information system (GIS).
This project shows detailed research in the area of automatic vehicle location and implements a low cost vehicle tracking system using GPS and GPRS. The system reads the current position, speed and direction using GPS, the data is sent via GPRS service from a GSM network to a server using TCP/IP protocol and the server saves this information to the database on a regular time interval. The web-based application then uses this data and calculates the approximate arrival time. The system allows a user to view the present position of the vehicle using Google Maps and calculates the arrival time. Also, bus location can be monitored in real time by route supervisors. This will allow supervisors to make better service adjustment decisions because they will be able to see how the route is operating. The test bed was a bus route running in the downtown of Toronto.