Case Study: Harris City Transportation System

Improved Essays
Today, we leave the car at home. The University of Houston’s College of Engineering presents this series about the machines that make our civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity created them. Immediately upon entering the massive office, your eyes light up from all the different colors from the screens screaming right at you. There’s a quiet humming in the room: officials talking to transport officials, printers spewing out sets of time intervals and data for the upcoming month. Mass transit systems are often overlooked portion of today’s infrastructure.
The Harris County METRO facility and what it’s employees do exemplifies what systems engineering is. The goal is to make models and analyze them to further better the METRO transportation process, including improving safety, efficiency, cost and getting from Point A to Point B. In a city like Houston, timing, precision and intense focus is necessary to keep the system’s gears moving. Houston’s METRO system comprises of over 9000 bus stops and 1200
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For one, we learned how routes are formed, when they run, how often they run, and who manages them. We also learned about the constantly increasing need for public transport, which means that the METRO needs to be more efficient in the way it runs. We realized the way it does this is through radio waves in a three-way relay between the bus, satellite GPS system, and computer in the Transit Control Center. Public transport has come a long way. From having to use maps and waiting at stops for hours to being able to track when and where your bus will arrive on your phone, GPS has played a major role in how the city keeps moving. Furthermore, GPS and such logistics have other applications, too. Package delivery. Even garbage collection. And the problems just keep getting bigger and more complex. One thing’s for sure. The future holds many opportunities for the inventive — and well-trained —

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