MassDOT has announced that for the first time all public transportation authorities in the Commonwealth including the MBTA and all 15 Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) have their routes and schedules fully accessible on Google Maps.
It can be expensive to set up and in this case they co-opted a university to help. Not a silly idea. It could well be cheaper for the Transport Authority to use students. The university can combine programmers with students studying geospatial sciences, usability and graphics into a massive project. These students, probably being digital natives and tied to their mobiles are the best people to start with when it comes to how they use their ubiquitous GPS enable smartphones. The professors who are likely to be less end use tech savvy and parents can provide objectivity.
Your mobile is the device you have on hand when you are considering public transport, it should be really easy for you to find the service you need, based on your current real time location and destination. It should provide multi-modal information including walking directions to and from the bus, tram, train or ferry.
Car park availability is also important, you don’t want to rely on a park and ride and the schedule and then find the car park is full.
Any mobile app developed today should consider the use of Augmented Reality. If there is GPS in the public transport vehicle, it could be used amongst other things to identify that the bus arriving is in fact the right one, especially when it is busy and not running to schedule. Make it interesting on the ride and use AR to tell people about places they are passing and might be interested in.
How do you think AR could add value to public transport route planners and schedulers?