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Campus Transit Lab

The Campus Transit Lab (CTL) program at The Ohio State University (OSU) is devoted to the continued development of an operating transit bus system into a living lab and the use of this lab for bus transit research, education, and outreach.

CTL is based on OSU’s Campus Area Bus Service (CABS). The campus is an ideal setting for developing this platform. It is one of the largest single site campuses in the U.S. It encompasses more than 3,400 acres, attracts large numbers of visitors, enrolls over 55,000 students, and employs more than 3,000 faculty and 5,000 staff members. CABS operates a fleet of 30 buses on 7 routes that comprise 30 route miles and serves 4 million passengers per year.The transit network serves diverse land uses and facilities: park-and-ride facilities, pedestrian-heavy central campus areas, off-campus residential neighborhoods, commercial areas, and expansive medical facilities. As such, this campus functions like a small urban area, and CABS provides transit service similar to that provided in many urban areas around the country.

The entire fleet of CABS buses is currently equipped with Clever Devices’s Automatic Passenger Counter (APC), Automatic vehicle Location (AVL), and voice annunciation technologies. Integration and communication systems have been installed to allow state-of-the-art performance reporting and real-time information capabilities. Clever Devices has equipped some of the largest transit agencies in the U.S. with these technologies, but this is the first time the company has equipped a university-based system. The size of the campus, characteristics of the CABS service, and collaboration between the faculty and CABS in research, education, and outreach attracted Clever Devices to this facility and motivated the company to contribute significant amounts of software in return for the opportunity to work in this collaborative, campus environment and to gain access to researchers and students.


CTL provides the necessary platform to support research by enabling the collection of in situ data that can be used to facilitate understanding, test and generate research hypotheses, compare the performance of alternative methodologies, and refine promising developments. Our faculty and students are involved in several areas of transit research, including:

  • Active sensors
  • Data Collection
  • Unintended Use
  • Service Regulation
  • Transit Impact and Sustainability
  • Transit Modeling
  • Traveler Information Systems


The transit lab has developed and implemented modules and quantitative exercises in several transportation courses. These exercises give the students exposure to research conducted at the transit lab and demonstrates the advantages of utilizing gathered data for practical applications.


The research team is using Campus Area Bus Service (CABS),  Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA metro), Automatic Passenger Counter (APC), and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) data to demonstrate the applications of new methodologies. Such results are expected to provide meaningful services.

Take a closer look at some of the projects CTL is conducting at the Ohio State University