Patent Awarded for System and Method for Automatically Determining Purpose Information for Travel Behavior

On June 2, 2015, the United States Patent Office awarded Patent No. 9,047,384, System and Method for Automatically Determining Purpose Information for Travel Behavior to a team of researchers from the National Center for Transit Research ( and College of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of South Florida.   The patent is for an automated trip-purpose detection method that utilizes GPS Data collected by GPS-enabled devices. The GPS data is compared against a GIS map to obtain various spatial and location characteristics of the surrounding area. This information is then used to derive a traveler’s trip purpose. In a preferred embodiment, the inventive method is implemented automatically without any needed manipulation of GIS data. Additionally, the method integrates location information as defined by the user for critical locations such as home and work. These personalized locations allow the method to immediately identify the two most common types of trips: work-related trips and trips returning home. More information about the patent may be found at

For more information, please contact Sean Barbeau, PhD at

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Enabling Better Mobility Through Innovations For Mobile Devices

Mobile phones are quickly reshaping our world. As of November 2014, 97 percent of US households have mobile phones, with the average household owning 5.2 connected mobile devices. Mobile app use on these devices is skyrocketing, with app usage up 76 percent in 2014. These apps can help us make better transportation choices by delivering the right information at the right time & location – from decreasing your wait time for public transportation, to letting you know about traffic incidents before you even leave for your destination, to helping transit riders with special needs get to and from jobs. However, developing new mobile technology that is smart, both in terms of delivering the information at the right moment and conserving limited resources such as battery life and data plans, is not always simple. Research conducted at universities has the potential to break through some of these challenges, which can result in improvements in mobility to everyone.

This presentation discussed the multi-disciplinary innovation process at the University of South Florida, including research funded by the National Center for Transit Research UTC and the Florida Department of Transportation that has resulted in 14 U.S. patents on location-aware mobile technology and resulted in the deployment of real-world systems. Lessons learned during the research itself, as well as, the technology transfer process to real-world deployments will be presented.

PresentBarbeauer: Dr. Sean J. Barbeau, University of South Florida

Time: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

Location: USDOT Headquarters West Building Conference Center in Washington, DC

You may view the recording by clicking here.


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Distributed and Decentralized Location Aware Architecture

United States Patent 8924536 | Issue Date of U.S. Patent December 30, 2014
A distributed and decentralized location-aware system that includes a number of peers, each in communication with other peers and adapted to communicate PING, PONG, and ALERT messages. Each of the messages has a header that includes location information.

Also provided is a method of communication between two peers in the system. In addition, the present invention includes a method of rendering the system. In the method, a communication link between an electronic map and a number of peers is provided. The location information and the covering distance of each of the peers is obtained and used to plot the location and render the covering distance of each peer on the electric map. A communication link between an electronic control device and the electronic map is also provided.

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System And Method For Spatial Point-Of-Interest Generation And Automated Trip Segmentation Using Location Data

United States Patent 8843315 | Issue Date of U.S. Patent September 23, 2014
This invention is a spatial data processing system and method that allows the automatic, rapid, scalable analysis and transformation of large amounts of travel behavior data (e.g., tracking data points) into individual “points-of-interest” and discrete trips stored in a spatial database. Each trip has a point-of-interest as a starting and ending location, and contains multiple positions (e.g. latitude and longitudes) which define the travel path of the user/device during that time period.

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EmergenSee partnership featured on Bay News 9

USF’s recent partnership with EmergenSee, which licensed mobile alert technology developed by researchers at the Center for Urban Transportation Research and the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, was featured on Bay News 9.  Click here to see the video.

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Emergency alert technology licensed to EmergenSee

Picture of EmergenSee mobile app

EmergenSee mobile app

USF recently licensed U.S. Patent # 8,045,954 – Wireless Emergency-Reporting System to EmergenSee, a leading provider of mobile apps for personal safety and security. EmergenSee is the only live-streaming video security system on the market.  Read more in the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

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Patent awarded for Adaptive Location Data Buffering

U.S. Patent # 8,718,671 – Adaptive Location Data Buffering for Location-Aware Applications was issued today to researchers at the Center for Urban Transportation Research and the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at USF.  This patent covers technology used in mobile tracking apps which supports the use of an unreliable protocol (e.g., UDP) to transmit location data from a mobile device to a server in real-time, while occasionally checking if a connection with the server exists using a reliable protocol (e.g., TCP).  If a reliable connection fails, location data is buffered on the device until the next successful reliable connection.  This allows energy and data-efficient communication of real-time tracking information, while still providing some measure of reliability.  More at and

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JSON vs. XML Benchmarking Presentation at TRB 2014

Ever wonder whether you should be using JSON or XML when talking to a server from your mobile app?  This paper, presented at the 2104 Transportation Research Board meeting, answers this question by benchmarking against MTA NYC’s SIRI API (hint – its not XML!).  Read the full paper for details on the benchmark results, as well as other optimizations you can use to make your app snappy and responsive, and reduce the user’s waiting time for new real-time info.  Also view the accompanying poster.

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OneBusAway Multi-region presented at TRB 2014

Our work on OneBusAway Multi-region, which launched real-time transit apps in Tampa and Atlanta, was presented at the 2014 Transportation Research Board meeting.  Next steps – OneBusAway in your city!  Read the full paper here.  You can also view the accompanying poster.

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Travel Assistance Device (TAD) Featured in U.S. Department of Transportation Press Release

In a December 20, 2012 USDOT press release, the Travel Assistance Device (TAD) was highlighted as an example of a high-value product created with University Transportation Center (UTC) funding.

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