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The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is an Atlanta-based transportation system that provides commuters access to different parts of the city through a bus system and a rail system. The system is primarily used by passengers to commute to work and for medical appointments and services. According to Ribley Briggins, Manager of Policy Planning and Outreach for MARTA, the average commuter may wait up to 45 minutes for a bus, and approximately 20 minutes between trains during non-rush hour times and on weekends. The wait period and the associated frustrations are one reason the ridership on MARTA has decreased among those who have other transportation alternatives. With less riders and support by patrons, the MARTA system is less likely to receive more funding to help sustain the transit, which has incredible implications for the environment, traffic congestions and its associated impact on stress, pollution, and accidents.
“Commute and Compute” is a proposal to provide patrons more productive ways to use their time while waiting for the transit. While reducing wait time is ideal, delays are unavoidable and some wait time is required by riders. In order to maximize the time used while waiting for the MARTA, I propose installing touch screen displays in the transit terminals and at bus stops for riders to use in between commutes. These screens will have multi-user interfaces that enable the user to connect to educational tools, local jobs, current news, and city wide events. The screens will be implemented on existing glass walls that enclose the bus stops and in new display units throughout transit terminals. The goal of the touch screen integration is to provide access to digital information and resources during commute times, allowing patrons the opportunity to maximize their time by learning and becoming familiar with computers, reading about current events, searching for job listings, sending e-mails, etc.