Blog Updates

Check out the latest updates from EnGraph Software

ParaPlan for iOS v 1.4.6

27 January

ParaPlan for iOS screenshot

Apple just approved version 1.4.6 of ParaPlan Mobile on the App Store.

This version is mostly bug fixes and performance improvements, but we’ve added some nice new touches as well.

Collecting signatures

The entire workflow around signature collection has been rebuilt. It is faster to get to the signature screen and signatures upload faster than ever. They also look much nicer.

Smarter comments

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Client and trip comments now “bubble up” from the bottom of the screen when a driver arrives at a pick up location. The comments will automatically go away after 10 seconds, or if the driver manually dismisses them. This allows drivers to see critical information about a client without having to drill into the details.

Copays

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Drivers can now record collected copays. They can specify the amount of collection and the type of collection (cash, voucher, ticket). Partial payments and overpayments are also allowed. However, in the interest of simplicity, the driver just has to click on the copay field and it will assume payment was collected in full with the default payment type (set in Admin on ParaPlan Desktop). If there was a partial payment or overpayment or a different payment type, the driver can touch again to edit the payment. The most common action is the default allowing the driver to quickly get back to work.

Clients that require copays to be collected have the amount displayed sideways next to their name on the manifest. When the driver sees this, they should click into Trip Details and click the copay amount. This will record it as collected and the amount will not be displayed on the front screen. If the driver clicks again on the copay amount it will open a screen where they can edit the details.

Odometers

We spent a lot of time perfecting our odometer collection algorithms. I mean, A LOT OF TIME. We think we are pretty close to perfect, but drivers should still check in on the settings screen to make sure our calculated odometer matches the vehicle odometer. Newer iPhones and iPad with the motion coprocessor will see dramatic improvements and the calculated odometer should be dead-on, day after day.

Improvements to iPad

Bouncing around between screens is no good and can leave a driver feeling out of control. On the iPad version, we put the settings in a popover controller on the front screen instead of having it in its own separate tab.

Speaking of the settings screen, the connection information is smarter and only runs on demand. It also displays the type of cellular connection.

We are building up our mobile FAQs on Freshdesk. Now drivers can can view the FAQs from inside the app. Just click into settings to see the new button. Drivers can also submit tickets directly from the app.

 

Starting 2015 with a bang

14 January

Brett and Kyle hit the road to start the new year.  Our primary purpose was to upgrade Georgetown Transportation in Jenison, Michigan to our latest version and train them. They have been using ParaPlan since 2008 and were our final customer to upgrade from the old Microsoft Access version. They now love the new web-based system and experience.

We also spent time at Resource Transportation and Life EMS in Grand Rapids. We then took our very first clients to dinner as well! Kathy and her gang have been using ParaPlan since 2000 at the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids and it was great spending some time with them. After Michigan, Kyle and Brett headed down to see Transpo Access in South Bend, Indiana before catching a snowy plane home.

It was great seeing some old friends to start off the new year :)

APTA EXPO next week in Houston

10 October

 

Booth 2913sm

We just got back from the Arkansas Public Transit Conference in Eureka Springs and we are now going to APTA with REI next week! The huge tri-annual APTA EXPO will be held October 13-15 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX.  There are over 800 exhibitors on the floor and REI will be at Booth #2913. Please stop by to see our fully integrated ITS solution and in-vehicle electronics.

For more information on Arkansas Transit, visit www.arkansastransit.com
For more information on the upcoming APTA EXPO, visit aptaexpo.com

On the road again

12 September

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A.R.M.O.R. Mobility powered by ParaPlan will be on display at BusCon in Indianapolis next week.  We will be hosting the booth with REI, who are bringing 9 company reps to the show!  BusCon will be held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN on September 15 – 17, 2014.

Then shortly after BusCon, EnGraph Software will host a booth at the New Jersey Council on Special Transportation’s 19th Annual COST Vendor Expo.  The expo will be held at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ on Friday, September 19, 2014.

For more information on BusCon, visit www.busconexpo.com
For more information on the NJ COST Vendor Expo, click here

Transit conference in our backyard

11 August

kpta2014

The 2014 Kansas Public Transit Conference (KPTA) is happening right now at the DoubleTree Wichita Airport. We had a great time with our fellow Kansas transit connections at the opening reception tonight and are looking forward to a big day tomorrow! We are joining our partner, Radio Engineering Industries (REI) in the exhibit hall, so please come see us.

For more information on the KPTA conference, visit http://www.kstransit.org

EnGraph and REI together in St. Louis

01 August

MPTA_2014ConferencePostcard_web

The 2014 Missouri Public Transit Conference (MPTA) conference is August 3-5, 2014 at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. We are very excited to see what our neighbors in Missouri have been up to!  We will be joining our partner, Radio Engineering Industries (REI) in the exhibit hall, so please come see us.

For more information on the MPTA conference: http://www.cabllc.com/MPTAConference/general.htm

Use QueryBuilder to get a list of all places

30 July

Excel logo 2

With ParaPlan, getting data out of the system and into another format like PDF or Excel is easy. Here is a simple tutorial to get all the Places to Excel using our Query Builder.

  1. Click Reports > Query Builder.
  2. Click Load from text, a new window will appear.
  3. Copy the following text into the window, then close the window:

    Manager:PlaceManager
    Method:GetAll
    Shape:
    Where:
    Select:new (StopName, Address, Comment, ID)

  4. Click Execute.
  5. Click Export to Excel.

The list of all the places in the system are now displayed in Excel, where any number of formulas or manipulations could be performed.

Google features EnGraph in 2013 Economic Report

18 July

Kyle 2013 ks

This week, Google released their 2013 Economic Report and EnGraph was highlighted as a featured business in Kansas! Google products, especially Google AdWords, have been a huge part of our recent growth. We really enjoyed working with Wendy at Google during this process and couldn’t be happier with the final result.

As a bonus, Lenexa (the city of our headquarters) was chosen as 2013 eCity. We are proud to be part of the strongest online business community in Kansas.

EnGraph is in good company with some really neat businesses also featured in this report from other states. Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio and University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota were also highlighted. AmpleHarvest.org from New Jersey is working to supply food pantries with local produce. Lyman Orchards from Connecticut is the twelfth-oldest family owned business in the US (since 1741).

We are proud to be part of this group and we look forward to working with Google for a very long time.

Geo-fence scheduling with ParaPlan

09 June

Routeann

 

Geo-fencing is a powerful tool in scheduling trips. ParaPlan uses geo-fences called zones to label specific geographic areas. Recently, we talked about how to create zones from GPX files and how to create zones from a city name. Today, we are going to talk about how zones can be used during autoschedule to keep vehicles working in a specific region of the service area.

As a recap, zones restrict routes to only perform trips that start and stop in that zone. A route labeled North that is set up around downtown and northern suburbs would not be eligible to perform a trip for Mrs. Jones on the south side of the city. Eligible means that ParaPlan will not auto schedule Mrs. Jones to a route in the North zone. It also means that the reservation for Mrs. Jones will not include North routes on the quick trip assignment. Only routes that contain south side zones OR no zone at all will be in the route drop down list on the reservation screen. This is a new feature in ParaPlan and will greatly reduce scheduling errors during the reservation intake phase.

We typically see three different types of trips, geographically speaking. Service-based trips, needs-based trips and out of town trips.

Service

Servicebased

Service-based trips would cover trips to the grocery store, bank, or the drugstore. These trips are short in distance and short in duration. Usually they occur within the bounds of a single city. Quite frequently, it makes the most the sense for the driver to wait for the client to finish their business, then take them back home. When setting up a zone to perform service-based trips, a good design would encompass the residential and commercial areas of a city or suburban area.

Needs

Need based

Needs-based trips typically transport a client to a specialized facility. This could be a daycare or dialysis center. Generally, these places are centrally located and serve individuals from a large region. To set up zones to service these trips, include several known residential areas and the central downtown district.

Out of town

Out of town trips can have zones if the situation calls for it. If there are frequent trips to a facility over 50 miles away then creating a zone that encompasses both areas would make sense. Otherwise, just don’t assign a zone to a route. This will make the route eligible to perform any trip.

Smarter scheduling

By knowing the kinds of trips being performed, users can set up a medley of service-based and needs-based routes to efficiently schedule a large batch of trips. This will keep vehicles working in a very specific region. It is much better for drivers to stay in familiar areas. If they are comfortable driving the bus and appear relaxed, the passengers will also feel more comfortable. We understand how important this is for special needs transportation.