SmartTraxx App works to mend issues with campus escort vans


Dalton Patterson/The Record

While Buffalo State’s escourt vans have been in operation for some time, the new SmartTraxx App provides students a whole new experience when looking for a lift.

Benjamin Joe, Online Editor

Safety is a major concern on and off SUNY Buffalo State’s campus. Students are reminded to report any suspicious behavior, to not allow anyone but their own visitors into the residence halls, and never to walk in the outlying parking lots alone at night.

Now there is a new tool that will hopefully keep students even safer.

It’s called SmartTraxx, and it’s an app that can be downloaded on any smartphone. With this app, students can see in real time how far away an escort van is from their location to stop any unnecessary waiting in dark or secluded areas.

“It’s a real time GPS app with a device installed on the escort vans,” UPD Chief of Police Pete Carey said. “So as they’re operating on the campus, if you download the app, you can see where the van is, where the stops are, what the route is, so if you’re in your car or in a building, you don’t have to wait outside in the cold or the bad weather until you see that it’s getting closer. So we’re trying to give people some real time information trying to increase ridership for campus safety.”

The app is incredibly easy to use and can be accessed from a smartphone or desktop. From the UPD’s website, there is a link for campus safety and another for the safe-escort program. From there, students can select what time they’d like to ride and see a map with indicators for stops. From this page, you can download the app to an Android or iPhone.

“On the phone, you have the app. Once you first open it up you have to select Buffalo State. UB also uses the app, so if you go to UB you just have to select UB and find where their busses are,” Carey said.

He also said the program was inexpensive to bring to campus.

“We gave them (Street Eagle) a map of the campus. We showed them where we wanted to stop and we actually drove around while the company was monitoring. We went to each stop and stayed there for a minute… they created the routes for the app and map,” Carey said.

The company that installed and monitors the app is called Street Eagle. On its website, it explains that while GPS was once developed for the military, it is now widely available to the public. They assure potential customers that once the system is installed, it cannot be tampered with by the driver or anyone on the shuttle.

“The president had a town hall meeting and we actively solicited recommendation from the campus community, and this was one of the recommendations… we looked into that and made it happen right at the beginning of the semester,” Carey said. “Buffalo State is safe, but we want to make sure we’re providing these services, we want people to be aware of them and make it easier to let them use it.”

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