TransLoc Steps on the Gas With $8M for Mass Transit Software

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the analytics it offers transit operators. TransLoc sells several different Web-based software products, priced depending on fleet size, that help operators manage their systems. Among the software offerings is a tool mines data from the TransLoc mobile app on commuters’ smartphones. By tracking anonymous rider trip data, this visualization and planning tool illustrates rider demand and gaps in service, Kaufman explains. The tool replaces surveys and questionnaires that transit systems have historically used to evaluate their services and plan for upgrades or route changes. “We can now provide objective data so they can make data-driven decisions,” Kaufman says.

TransLoc was founded by two NC State University computer science students. Kaufman says they wondered why they had to stand around in the rain waiting for campus buses. As avid gamers who played online with other players on the far side of the world, they asked why they couldn’t just look up local bus location information online. The university told them it wasn’t technologically possible. The students turned their idea for real-time bus tracking into TransLoc, and NC State became the company’s first customer. Founding CEO Josh Whiton continues to be a board member.

Kaufman says TransLoc experienced steady growth in users for its first nine years, when the company’s main offering was the mobile app. New tools for transit systems were developed and introduced within the last two years. TransLoc will use the infusion of capital to expand its product and engineering teams, as well as its sales force. Kaufman says his nearly 50-employee company will add another 35 to its headcount in Durham over the course of 2016.

In an effort to connect even more pieces of the transportation puzzle, TransLoc has a partnership with ride-hailing company Uber. TransLoc’s app helps commuters plan their trips on public transportation, using Uber to fill in that first or last mile of a trip. In early March, TransLoc announced a pilot of this program, which is being evaluated in a partnership with GoTriangle, the transit authority operating buses in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region. A second pilot launched last week in Memphis, TN.

“As we’re really building out this multi-modal experience, our hope is you can go anywhere in the U.S., [and TransLoc’s app] will show you the best way to get there,” Kaufman says.

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Frank Vinluan is editor of Xconomy Raleigh-Durham, based in Research Triangle Park. You can reach him at fvinluan [at] xconomy.com Follow @frankvinluan

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