By Thomas Cahir
The Cape Cod peninsula is a significant tourist destination in the summer months, attracting not only the regular visitors throughout the northeastern United States, but an increasing number of tourists across the nation and from Europe.
The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) has long partnered with the Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway Company (P&B) to improve alternatives to the automobile as our guests travel through the Cape Cod Region. P&B provides direct connections to Cape Cod from Boston’s Logan Airport and South Station. On the Cape, P&B acts as the high-speed inter-city connector from end to end of the 400-mile peninsula.
Services to Logan connect Cape Codders, visitors and tourists with a national and international hub for airline services. The service to South Station connects residents and travelers with the terminus for the Amtrak hi-speed Acela service, Boston’s commuter rail and subway system, and inter-city bus connections with New England and New York State.
On Cape Cod CCRTA provides a regional transit fixed route service connecting with P&B regional and inter-regional coaches at the Hyannis intermodal transportation in the center of the region at the village of Hyannis. This facility also connects with passenger ferry service to the offshore islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. This intermodal transportation web can be difficult for a tourist traveler to navigate.
To make it easier, this year CCRTA and P&B partnered with Google and the Bridgewater State College GeoGraphics Laboratory to create one of the first intermodal trip planners on Google Transit that integrates inter-city bus service and regional transit. This technology allows any traveler with access to the Internet to map out transportation solutions on Cape Cod without the use of an automobile — Cape Cod car-free and carefree.
Implemented in time for this summer season, the prototype web-mapping application CCRTA, P&B and the GeoGraphics Lab created tracks all P&B coaches serving the Cape Cod Region on the same web map as our CCRTA regional fixed route and paratransit services.
Travelers with internet access on their netbook or smart phone can see their connecting bus in real-time from their transit or inter-city coach. Customers with visual impairments can read a text/speed version of this real-time information with the aid of standard adaptive computing software.
At CCRTA, we are working hard to coordinate our computerized scheduling and dispatching so that our fixed route and general public dial-a-ride transportation (CC_DART) can act as an effective feeder service to P&B inter-city services to and from the entire Cape Cod Region.
P&B owners, George Anzuoni and his father Chris have been working with me for many years to get regional inter-city bus services and regional transit on the same page in Massachusetts. Together we have come a long way in realizing we are all serving the same customer and that our duty is to provide the tourist traveler with a real alternative to the automobile. We must make this standard practice as part of a national energy and environmental policy.
Now, we can truly say that in southeastern Massachusetts inter-city bus service and regional transit are literally on the same web page — and in real time.
Thomas Cahir serves as Administrator for the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, Hyannis, MA.