Cal’s night safety program gets an upgrade Published: February 10, 2011 By: Dick Cortén This spring, the campus has relaunched BearWALK, the night safety service, “reinvigorated with interactive and automated technology.” The enhancements are automated dispatch and a “live map” with shuttle tracking by GPS. You can now request a safety escort by computer as well as by the traditional phone call. An online request begins at the BearWALK link, using your CalNet ID. Or, to grab a shuttle ride, click to display a campus map with shuttle routes, and moving bus icons on the map that show the positions of the shuttles currently operating. Stationary icons show the location of stops along the route. With these visual cues, you can plan to make your way to a stop nearby in plenty of time for your shuttle. To request an escort by phone, call 642-WALK (9255). An automated dispatch system accepts keyed-in requests, puts them in a queue, and prioritizes simultaneous calls, thereby reducing the chance that callers get the dreaded busy signal or have to be put on hold. You’ll always have the option of talking to a live operator. BearWALK 2.0 is jointly provided by the UC Police Department and the Office of Parking and Transportation. The new technology they’re employing was developed by RideCell, a company founded by Georgia Tech faculty and alumni. It’s in use there and at Duke University. This is its first west coast implementation. Community Service Officers, who are student employees of the UCPD, run the BearWALK program. Night Safety Shuttles are an extension of Bear Transit, the daytime shuttle service provided by Parking and Transportation. Links with more information: BearWALK Night Safety Shuttles Also on the safety front: Cal’s WarnMe service It’s there in case you might need it. UC Berkeley instituted the WarnMe service in fall 2008 to help alert campus community alerted in an immediate crisis. Called “WarnMe,” the notification service proactively contacts individual students, faculty and staff to let them know of situations on or near campus that may pose an immediate threat to their safety and to provide instructions on what to do. Alerts and instructions will also be sent in other kinds of significant emergencies, such as major accidents and natural disasters. The system uses contact information you provide. Emergency alerts and instructions on what to do can be sent via cell phone, text messaging, TTY, e-mail and office and home phones. WarnMe is an opt-in system. To receive warnings and instructions, you sign up using your CalNet ID at the WarnMe website. You can select how to be notified and in which order your chosen devices shouldreceive the warning. The system will attempt to notify you on all numbers and addresses you provide. (Participation in the system is free, but you may incur a per message cost depending on your mobile device plan.) The more current and complete your contact information, the more helpful the system will be. You can update your contact information at any time, and updates will become effective within 24 hours. All contact information will be protected and kept private. It will be used only for WarnMe and will not appear in campus directories.