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Google Transit Helps Tourists and Commuters Plan Mass Transit

Google Transit offers planning tools for easier use of mass transit for getting to work and tourism

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Google Transit for mass transit planning

There are some people, like me, who didn't grow up with mass transit, and who have worked in jobs that don't benefit from same-route transit on a daily basis. And we don't use mass transit even though we would like to support this form of greener transportation. Now we can use public transit for daytrips, etc. instead of driving -- and Google makes it easier to plan.

Google is making it easier for people to get information about transit options. the new Google Maps "Transit" product helps you create your own transit trip, complete with itineraries and mpas

Some California regions that have specialized trip planning links include

  • Bay Area (BART, Caltrain, VTA)
  • Burbank (Burbank Bus)
  • Humboldt County (Various)
  • Modoc County (Sage Stage)
  • Orange County (OCTA)
  • Sacramento (Regional Transit)
  • San Diego (MTS)
  • Thousand Oaks (Thousand Oaks Transit)

...but that's one more case in which the service isn't a friendly solution for my needs. Drat!

But this toolkit can help millions of people reduce their personal miles in a greener way -- with the use of mass transit options.

Public Transit Made Easy

Google Transit for mass transit planning Now that Google Maps has textual directions in place, it's easy to build on top of that interface to introduce new innovations that become immediately useful to someone like me. Google Transit is a great example of this -- it helps you locate public transportation options and does so in the text format that you need. In addition, it offers several nice features to help me plan my trip:
  • I can specify the desired departure or arrival time.
  • It will show more than one trip choice, allowing some flexibility with respect to when I'd like to start.
  • It estimates the amount of walking required to get to a transit stop/station.
  • It identifies the length of waiting at each transit point.
  • It estimates the comparable cost of transportation options, where available.

Toolkit for Public Transit Agencies, too!

Behind the scenes is the Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), an open data format used by public transit agencies to upload their data. Several agencies are already using these public feeds.

Though GTFS is never seen by commuters directly, it opens up a wealth of possibilities with respect to accessibility and alternative access, such as building custom user interfaces and specialized route guidance applications that are optimized for people with special needs.

Check out Google Transit here

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| toolkit | transportation | public transportation |

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