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By now ya’all know that I love public transportation. One of the areas I like in the tech area regarding public transportation is watching all of the map mashups that have been launched over the past couple of years. I’ve written about the BusTime testing in NYC, the live London train map and the real-time Swiss train mashup. Four years ago I wrote about how tourists should consider taking the bus – it’s often overlooked in cities that offer a subway system.
Today I’ve learned about a new Google Maps mashup using bus data from the TFL in London. It’s called the London BusMapper and the developers describe the service as, “Can’t figure out which bus to take in London?Click on 2 points on the map and we’ll tell you!”
It’s really that easy to use the London BusMapper – just click on any two points in London on the map and it will show you all of the routes that get you from point A to point B. What’s really neat is that it shows you routes that start and end near your location so you can make the choice that works best overall.
The London BusMapper was developed by Mattias, Azmat and Ben Dowling. The team is actively encouraging suggestions on what features to build into the London BusMapper. So far the most popular suggestions include: creating a mobile version, time per route option, and to make sure the system takes into account any diversions for construction, etc.
Last April I reported that the New York City transit agency (that’s the MTA) launched a pilot program on the M16 and M34 bus lines which run up and down 34th street in Manhattan. The program is called BusTime and allows you to watch the buses move up and down 34th street online. You can also view estimated bus arrival times and get updates via text message.
It’s a really awesome technology because it could mean additional time at home and/or not waiting outside in the snow or rain for a bus that might be 20 minutes away. I would have loved BusTime on the horrible M50 route when I lived in Manhattan.
Today the MTA is launching the BusTime system on the first test line in Brooklyn, the B63. This line runs from Fort Hamilton to Cobble Hill. The B63 BusTime website still shows a “coming soon” message so I guess the arrival is late.
I can’t wait for the day that the BusTime system is available system-wide. Just imagine the fun watching the live map of all of the buses moving around the city!
Yesterday I wrote about how new surveillance cameras were installed in several NYC subway stations. Earlier today Visa launched a program where subway riders could use their iPhone devices to pay their fare.
Just over a year ago, the NYC MTA began a program to “wrap” subway cars with advertising. The program focuses mainly on the 42nd Street Grand Central-Times Square shuttle (which is only one stop and only runs three-car trains).
Today the MTA announced the launch of a test program where advertisers can buy ad space which includes a video display. The video monitors will feature baseball highlights (clearly they will show the Yankees winning each night) and the content will be refreshed daily. The displays will have no audio. In some cities the advertising monitors allow for audio on a specific AM or FM frequency but that feature is not part of this new test rollout.
From the announcement, “On the subway, the inside and outside of a train serving the 42nd Street Shuttle (S) are fully wrapped with advertisements promoting TBS’ coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2010 postseason. While subway car wraps have become increasingly popular with advertisers, this campaign is the first to make use of moving images. Video screens inside the subway cars are showing replays of the previous night’s baseball highlights.”
The MTA reports that this program costs the taxpayers nothing as their partnership with CBS Advertising and the advertisers foot the bill. The MTA also reports that they take in over $100 million in advertising revenue per year.
Continue reading “NYC MTA Adds New Video Advertising Screens to Trains” »
At the MTA developer conference last night, Jonathan Wegener, the founder of mobile app Exit Strategy NYC presented his transit application. We covered the 1.0 release of Exit Strategy on InsideTransit last summer. It’s one of my favorite transit apps even though I don’t have a device that can run the app.
The first version of Exit Strategy told you where to stand on a subway platform to get you as close as possible to your desired exit at your destination. Let’s say you are planning to take the 1 train northbound from 14th street to 50th street. You get to the platform at 14th street and are standing where the first car will stop. You wait 6 minutes for a train and when the train arrives you board the first car. When you exit at 50th street you realize the only exit on the platform is at the complete other end of the train. Had you known this in advance, you easily could have walked the length of the train while waiting at 14th street and thereby maximized your time when you arrived at your destination. Many railfans like myself know the exits but for the average rider, Exit Strategy NYC is a must have.
The new 2.0 version adds what they call, “Enter Strategy”. Basically what they have done is integrate the neighborhood maps the MTA creates that show you where the subway entrances near a station. These maps are typically located near the token booth clerks at each station. With the new Exit Strategy NYC, the maps are loaded into the app and can be accessed underground.
Exit Strategy NYC is available for the iPhone at a cost of $4.99. They have lite versions available for the Blackberry, Android and the Kindle.
Continue reading “Exit Strategy NYC Adds Enter Strategy” »
At the MTA developer conference last night, the founder of Clever Commute presented his startup which helps transit riders learn about delays and other updates quicker than the transit agencies can provide. Currently the service is focused on New Jersey Transit and the commuter rail in NYC.
The concept behind Clever Commute is relatively simple – you are sitting on a train or bus in New Jersey and a traffic jam appears in front of you or the conductor makes an announcement that delays will be more than 15 minutes. You use your mobile phone to send an email to Clever Commute with the time, transit line and the nature of the issue. Clever Commute sends out emails to all of their members who have requested information about that line or region.
The application is free and the founder notes that he has signed deals with local radio and television stations to provide their reports to the stations to share with their viewers and listeners. They are also generating revenue through ads that are placed below the alerts.
Here’s the video overview of Clever Commute:
Continue reading “Clever Commute Crowdsources Transit Delays (video)” »
Tonight the NYC transit authority (aka the MTA) held their first developer conference in NYC. I attended the first half and have recorded a variety of videos and photos which I will post over the next couple of days with my thoughts on the event. Overall it’s awesome to see the MTA embracing technology and the developer community.
One of the audience questions asked MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Walder about when we might see WiFi signals and cell phone access across the buses, subways and commuter rail.
Mr. Walder noted that some things make him frustrated and the answer as to when we will have cell signals in the subway is one of those things as the answer goes on for pages and pages of explanation of why it won’t happen this decade.
There is a current MTA RFP for wireless service on commuter rail trains (that’s the LIRR and Metro-North).
Continue reading “MTA Chief Walder: Cell Signals Coming to NYC Subways (video)” »
The New York City transit authority (MTA) will hold their first developer conference next month. Named the “MTA Unconference for Developers”, the event will take place in Manhattan on May 5, 2010, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Having worked at the Transit Museum as a kid, it would have been awesome to hold the event there although I know there isn’t a lot of technology available at that location.
The Chairman of the MTA Jay Walder will speak at the event along with execs from the NY Times and Google.
If you are interested in attending, the registration form is now live – it looks like you must be approved to attend. You need to apply by April 28th to be considered.
If you want to get involved with the developer community, the best place to start is the discussion group.