Santa Clara VTA Transit Launches VTAlerts Powered by ELERTS
Smartphone App Lets Riders Report Security Concerns
Santa Clara, CA – April 29, 2013 – Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) began a new public safety initiative today, with the launch of VTAlerts. VTAlerts is a smartphone app, powered by ELERTS, that enables transit riders to report suspicious or criminal activities to Transit Security, literally, at the touch of a button.
The VTAlerts app is designed to be quick, easy and discrete. Riders choose, “Report a Problem,” or “Call 911.” Riders may include a text description and/or a photo of what is being reported. The rider may also select a report type (e.g. “Medical Emergency,” “Assault or Fight,” “Robbery or Theft,”), and to choose to submit their report as anonymous, if they choose. When taking a photo with the VTAlerts app, the smartphone flash is automatically disabled, so as not to draw attention.
The VTAlerts app is immediately available for both Apple iOS and Android devices, at no cost to riders.
Transit Security can also broadcast alerts to riders regarding safety or travel disruptions. In addition, BOLO’s (Be On the Look Out) may be sent to app users, asking for assistance in helping to locate missing or wanted persons. Real-time, two-way chat is built into the VTAlerts app, so Security staff can ask a rider for further information if needed; and travelers can reply to security alerts they receive. If a rider submits a report from a location where there is little or no signal, the report is queued and resent when cellular or wifi signal strength returns.
“The widespread popularity of smartphones is transforming the possibilities and opportunities for advances in public safety,” states Ed English, CEO of ELERTS. “VTA is taking advantage of this to engage their ridership in helping to create a safer travel experience for everyone.”
VTA is an independent special district whose mission is to provide sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of the region. VTA provides these services throughout Santa Clara county, including the municipalities of Cupertino, Los Altos, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. Time magazine named the VTA among the 20 Best Cities for Public Transit. This ranking was based research from the Brookings Institute, which gave the VTA a combined ranking of coverage and job access of 2 out of 100 Metropolitan Areas.