The SmartRide Dispatch software package is a comprehensive dispatching system created to meet the software needs of university escort (on call) shuttle services. Over two hundred universities nationwide offer dispatched escort shuttle services to their students, faculty, and staff in order to improve nighttime campus safety.

System Overview

The SmartRide Dispatch software facilitates every step of the escort shuttle dispatching process. It includes components to help in the following tasks:

Dispatching process event
SmartRide Dispatch assistance

Passenger calls dispatch center to request a ride.


Phone operator enters call into system and provides estimated wait time to passenger.


SmartRide provides easy-to-use web interface for new call entry. Artificial intelligence component provides estimated wait time.

Radio dispatcher receives call information through dispatch system.


SmartRide Dispatch web interface displays new call information on radio dispatcher screen seconds after it is entered by phone operator. Artificial intelligence component immediately suggests groupings with other rides.

Radio dispatcher considers vehicle locations and decides on vehicle assignment for passenger.


SmartRide Dispatch includes a real-time map showing locations of all vehicles. Software running on a cell phone in each vehicle transmits GPS coordinates to mapping software every 10 seconds.

Radio dispatcher assigns call to driver.


Once radio dispatcher assigns a call to a vehicle through the SmartRide Dispatch web interface, the cell phone in that vehicle rings, and the ride information is shown on the screen. If the driver has not yet acknowledged previous ride assignment, the old assignment stays on the screen until the driver is ready.

Driver picks up passenger. Driver drops off passenger.


Drivers can indicate pickups and dropoffs using the cell phone keypad. Once the driver enters ride information into the cell phone keypad, the status of the call changes on the dispatchers' screen, and the pickup/dropoff time is automatically entered. Radio dispatchers can also change ride status manually.

The system is refreshed daily so that operators and dispatchers can start a fresh log at the beginning of their shifts. All call data is stored in a database, allowing transportation managers to find short-term statistics and analyze long-term trends over several months.

Technical Features

SmartRide Dispatch offers a number of technical features, including:

  • An online map that displays each vehicle and its current assignments, as well as the locations of waiting passengers.
  • An artificial intelligence component that suggests vehicle assignments for each ride and estimates a wait time for each caller.
  • A dispatch-to-driver mobile communication system: new assignments are sent to each driver via cell phone, and in return assignment status can be sent to dispatch office through the cell phone keypad.
  • A flexible dispatch user interface design that supports one or multiple dispatchers.
  • Highly customized configurations for each client: everything from color schemes to campus building names can be tailored to the customer's needs.
  • Easy sorting of dispatcher tasks by status, destination, timestamp, and more.
  • A color-coded user interface that improves efficiency by highlighting the status of each job.
  • Audit integrity: complete and thorough logging of every piece of information entered and every action taken.
  • Data integrity: Regular backups insure that important records are never lost.
  • Easy report generation for data analysis.

Development Approach

The SmartRide engineering team's original goal was to create a software application that increased passenger safety by improving both the reliability and efficiency of campus escort shuttle services. The team conducted detailed user research into university shuttle operations and combined that research with detailed technical knowledge about state-of-the-art computer and mobile technologies. As a result, they were able to create an easy-to-use system that balances the needs to dispatchers, drivers, transportation managers, and passengers. For more information about the benefits of the software, please visit the Benefits page. More information about the technology behind SmartRide Dispatch can be found at the How It Works page.


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