Category Archives: transit technology

One *really* good reason to use a smart phone

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I’m not a gadget person. I’m no Luddite (hey, I appreciate a useful tool as much as the next bus chick), but I’m no early adopter, either. I believe in using stuff “till the wheels fall off,”* if you’ll excuse the auto-inspired metaphor, and it feels wrong to get rid of something that works perfectly fine just because there’s something newerfasterbetter out there.

But folks, on Friday my Bus Nerd surprised me with a fancy new smart phone (which, by the way, he managed to obtain …

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Sightline talks transit tech

Last week, Sightline’s Eric Hess blogged about his experience using OneBusAway. His conclusion:

For me, it’s not a game-changer, but the reason is not the app; it’s the transit-friendly locations of my apartment and office. I’m lucky; I live in a neighborhood with a good bus system. My front door is within five minutes of three bus routes that take me straight to the office; all of them come pretty frequently at peak commute hours.

I’m never tempted to drive, since the bus ride takes about the same amount of time and let’s me catch up on reading. …

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Trip planning on the go

Earlier today, I received a press release about Metro Mobile, a new, phone-friendly version of KC Metro’s Trip Planner created by benevolent bus rider Nicholas Barnard. I tried the tool for a few sample trips, and it works pretty well—at least, as well as can be expected on my somewhat bootleg phone.

The site lets you select from a list of default locations (libraries, the airport, et cetera). It also lets you set custom locations. Unfortunately, it doesn’t verify the locations before it saves them. I saved my home address, but when I tried to use it, I …

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Transportation round-up

  • The Best Bus Ride finalists have been selected. (I’ve already completed my official judging duties, which I thoroughly enjoyed.) You can vote for the people’s choice winner here. Voting ends Saturday, 11/20.  
  • Undriving.org now has video profiles of local undrivers. Love. I’ve just added Merlin Rainwater and Betty Holman to my list of sheroes.
  • Got ideas about how to improve transit in Seattle? SDOT wants to hear them. The city is in the process of updating its Transit Master Plan* and needs lots of feedback from citizens. (FYI, this citizen is a member …

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“The world’s first transit appliance”

I just returned from a transit nerd conference in Portland, where I spent some time experiencing transit envy–again (more later); some time hanging with my cousins-in-law, who now live in Portland; and not enough time admiring this cool gadget, the brainchild of Portland Transport‘s Chris Smith.

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Bing adds transit trip planning

Bing Maps now offers transit directions. (‘Bout time!) From the Bing Community blog:

Commuters rejoice! Today Bing Maps added transit routing to its directions options. So, for those of you who like to take the bus, subway, or local rail you now can turn to Bing Maps. This is a very important feature for us as public transit grows in popularity and coverage. There are more than 10.7 billion public transit passenger trips per year in the US alone.

In this initial release (i.e. more to come) of Bing Maps transit directions, Bing Maps will cover 11 cities: Boston, …

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More help finding a bus-chick-friendly neighborhood

The folks at Walk Score have stepped up their game. Earlier this week, they released Transit Score (via: TCC’s tweeters), a similar tool that assesses a particular location’s access to transit. From what I can tell so far, Seattle’s transit scores are lower, across the board, than its walk scores. Or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better; my walkable, bus-full neighborhood only scored in the 60s*. Sure, the service could be more frequent, but I ain’t complainin’–at least not right now. I’ll be happy if all of my routes stay off the …

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March news of note

One Bus Away, the user-friendly version of MyBus, won “Best Use of Technology in the Government, Nonprofit, or Educational Sector” at the Washington Technology Institute Association awards earlier this month.

A fancy tech award is nice and all, but OBA also receives all kinds of love on the streets. If I had a nickel for every time I saw someone using it on a mobile device or hyping it up to a friend… Case in point: My friend (and fellow bus mom) Lily, who started using the app recently, gushed about it during …

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Transportation in the news

• There’s a new, nationwide portal for transit applications. MyBus and OneBusAway are already in there. (Source: Mission-Sustainable)

• Transit riders and privacy groups are raising concerns about the way Orca collects and stores users’ travel data. They’re chatting about it over at STB.

• Link’s Seatac station is up and running. I missed the big ribbon-cutting (hey, it was at 8-something on Saturday morning!), and I’m not headed out of town anytime soon, but I’ll probably ride down there for the heck of it in a day or two. Anyone already been?

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About those targeted alerts…

When are we supposed to start getting them? Given all the drama on Yesler last night, I’m assuming that the 27 was affected, yet I didn’t receive a peep out of Metro about a reroute or delayed service.

What gives? Perhaps the route-specific alerts aren’t live yet? Or perhaps I should adjust my expectations?

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