Sac State's new GPS tracker creates an in-app real time map of all four shuttle routes. ( Sac State Mobile App )

Sacramento State launched a GPS map feature this spring that allows students to track the four shuttles that serve the campus.

The shuttles were equipped with GPS trackers over the summer and the app was soft launched in the spring, senior director of University Transportation and Parking Services (UTAPS) Tony Lucas said.

The university partnered with DoubleMap to create an embedded URL reached through the Sac State app. The programming was done within the UTAPS department for no extra cost, and the software licenses and hardware cost less than $50,000, Lucas said.

The program “makes shuttles more accessible for students because it’s very visual,” allowing students to see if they need to rush out the door or if they’ve just missed the bus, Lucas said.

California’s stringent greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and Sacramento State’s reputation as a commuter school, with students driving in through several counties and struggling to find parking, drove the desire for the program.

“This helps the student that’s on the edge: ‘Maybe I should take the shuttle, but maybe I should drive,’” Lucas said.

Other universities have similar tracking apps, but Sac State has won several awards for the shuttle’s “closed loop system” that creates bio-compressed natural gas from the campus’s food scraps.

Lucas said the shuttles are mostly full but there are a few seats left and the app can help fill them.