Posts Tagged ‘transit’

Map: Network of Special Lanes (Wash Post)

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

[Editor's note: Great map by Laris Karklis.]

Republished from The Washington Post. By Ashley Halsey III.
Related article: A Fast Track To Bus

A proposal that would use $300 million of federal stimulus money to optimize bus service is under review today. Enhancements to bus corridors and a reconfiguration of K Street are among the central elements of proposed improvements.

gr2009071500075

Transit on Google Maps comes to a Town Near You (Kelso)

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

[Editor's note: When I've traveled to Paris or Beijing I like to take public transit both below and above ground. It gives me a good sense of the people and the place. And it reduces my carbon footprint. But sometimes figuring out transit systems can be irksome. I've got a great pocket atlas of Beijing that shows major bus lines and their stops which is helpful. And Paris offers some good printed material. But figuring out which station or stop is closest to the start and end of the trip is just the beginning. Which route is best? And when will I get there are two important questions. If you've missed it, Google Transit solves many of these challenges. New transit systems are being added monthly, check to see if your city participates.]

I live in metro Washington DC and our transit agency finally released their network topology, routing, scheduling in Google Transit format after a long petition drive. Now 3rd party developers, including Google, can use this to build out web apps or even mobile phone apps like iBART. DCist has coverage of both the recalcitrance of this public agency in giving out data we’ve already paid for as tax payers (sound familiar). Cartographers should use the station and bus stop locations included in these transit feeds to locate these features on their city maps.

Cartographers need to get on the mobile app development bandwagon and provide customers with tools that leverage these types of datasets. Imagine an app that has a proximity sensor / alert for nearby bus or transit stops or tells you the bus you want is coming in 5 minutes, time to pack up. And can do all the routing for you. And can be leveraged to provide the customer with, say, trail routing in the backcountry, too.

Why is transit on Google Maps a big deal? From WorldChanging:

[Including transit on maps and routing] make public transit more accessible and easier for everyone to understand; and in doing so, it will certainly increase transit ridership and reduce driving.

One of the big barriers to public transit use is the knowledge required to use the system: where to wait, when to wait, where to transfer, how much to pay, etc. Some readers may remember that two years ago we helped cause Google Transit to happen, but it’s taken off far beyond what we had suggested, and they keep getting better. What’s more, they’re doing it at no charge to the transit agencies (a perpetually under-funded sector of local governments). More cities are coming on board, as well; if you live in one of the eleven cities now participating, enjoy! If you live elsewhere, consider writing to your local transit agency and telling them to join the 21st century. (ahem… San Francisco, right in Google’s back yard, no excuse… ahem.)

What are these tools? In addition to being able to type in your route and get comprehensive directions (including walking to stations, showing the bus or train route, walking directions between stations, how much it costs, etc.), you can plan trips by departure or arrival time and see when the next couple buses come if you miss the one you’re aiming for. Now, if you zoom in enough on any Google map in the right city, all the transit stops appear, with different icons for bus, light rail, etc.; click on a bus stop and up pops a list of the buses or trains that stop there; click on the bus number, and up pops the timetable for the next several buses stopping there.

Want to get your transit data on the map? Aaron Antrim, who heads Trillium Transit Internet Solutions helps smaller agencies get online with Google Transit, in particular, those small-to-midsized transit agencies that don’t have dedicated IT staffs (ref). Aaron went to the same university as me and is quite active in transit circles.

There’s a petition to add “By bike” like there is “Walking” and “Transit” to Google Maps (ref). See this in action at byCycle.org as seen at Treehugger.

Transit Time Maps from Walk Score (via Google Maps Mania)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Detailed maps help understand transportation time between point A and B. Network topology routing provided by open source software and then pushed out as a Google Maps mashup. WalkScore was previously featured here for their “walkability” maps which both help people figure out where to live.]

Republished from Google Maps Mania and Walk Score.

WalkScore have produced a Google Map mashup that can show you how far you can travel in San Francisco, Portland or Seattle on public transport in 15, 30 and 45 minutes. The map can show you how far you can travel on public transit from a given location and at any time of day.

How it Works

Transit schedules are downloaded in GTFS format and the XML street data is fetched from OpenStreetMap. These are compiled into a graph for use by the Graphserver trip planner. Street intersections are graph vertices and streets are graph edges.

Graphserver calculates the shortest path tree for a given location. The time of arrival at all street intersections is cross-referenced with a table of street intersection locations to create the contours for different travel times.

Go to Walk Score to try out the Transit Time map . . .

Taking the Train: The Most Used Subway Systems in the US and Around the World (Good Magazine)

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

[Editor’s note: This chart needs a per capita analysis and comparable accounting of subway milages but is super fun any how. Click image above for larger view, or follow link below. Happy birthday Katie Rose!]

Republished from Good magazine.
Orig pub date: Feb. 17, 2009.

Even though subways are a fuel-efficent way to move people around congested urban areas, Americans make poor use of them, probably because they are poorly funded and often don’t travel where we want to go. Right now, of the five most-used subway systems in the country, only New York City’s attracts as many riders as the five largest foreign subway systems.

A collaboration between GOOD and Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

View the original graphic | blog post.

Visualizing Bus Level of Service (Greater Greater DC)

Monday, December 8th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Looking at the previous post on visualizing subway level of service, I was reminded of one of David Alpert’ great posts on the same topic in March 2008 but on the frequency and reliability of bus routes. David based his graphic on observed data but then extrapolated it a bit and graphed the resulting histogram. Also see this crazy art project showing 3D data sculpture of the Sunday Minneapolis / St. Paul public transit system, where the horizontal axes represent directional movement and the vertical represents time.]

Republished from Greater Greater DC.

Waiting for the L2

The L2 bus travels along Connecticut Avenue from Friendship Heights, detours through Adams Morgan, down 18th and New Hampshire through Dupont, and then along K Street to McPherson Square. It also runs right past my window. I started keeping track of its actual times and compared them to the schedule. (Click image for larger version).

This chart shows how much time you are likely to wait at 18th and S based on when you show up. The darkest area is 10% of the buses: for example, at exactly 8:00, 10% of the time a bus will come within 3 minutes, but 90% of the time it will take longer than 3 minutes. The lightest area is 100% of the buses (that I’ve observed); at 8:00, 100% of the time a bus will come within 8 minutes (not bad).

The red dotted line represents the schedule. The WMATA trip planner reports that this bus should arrive at 7:48, 8:04, 8:23, 8:36, 8:48, 9:01, and 9:16. If all buses showed up exactly on time, the entire chart would coincide with the red line.

You can see that many of the triangular areas deviate to the left of the red line. That means that the bus often shows up early. If you get to the stop at 8:46, two minutes before the scheduled 8:48 arrival, 30% of the time the bus will show up within four minutes, but 70% of the time it will take 12 minutes or more because 70% of the time this bus shows up before 8:46. And it’s been as early as 8:41 (that’s where the tall light blue spike appears), which means to be safe and avoid risking a 23-minute wait for a 9:01 bus that may show up at 9:04, you have to arrive to the stop seven minutes ahead of time.

The tighter the triangle, the more accurate the bus’s appearances. As you can see, the 8:04 is pretty good, only deviating to the left (early) occasionally and then not very far early. At the same time, it’s not late much; the big dark triangle means that the bus isn’t usually more than a couple minutes late either. On the other hand, its light colored spike is very high, meaning that occasionally even if you show up a minute early you might be stuck waiting 28 or 32 minutes if the 8:23 is late.

The 8:23 and 8:36 appearances aren’t very consistent, leading to the lack of visible shape in those areas. Those buses are often early and often late, and several times have shown up within one minute of each other.

You can see all my data on this Google Spreadsheet. The first tab is my direct observations; the second tab is the calculated data that generated the chart.

In conclusion, the 8:04 is fairly reliable, while the later buses are not so much. WMATA is working on offering real-time bus info which would help since someone could see how much time actually remained until the next bus, and see this before leaving home. The other big recommendation I see from this data is for the drivers to try harder to avoid being early. They should wait at certain key stops until the correct departure time. That way, commuters could at least know for certain that if they showed up a minute or two before the bus’s scheduled arrival, they wouldn’t be left waiting at the stop for 20 minutes.

Apple releases iPhone Software v2.2 (AppleInsider)

Friday, November 21st, 2008

[Editor's note: Cool new features in the iPhone 2.2 update include enhancements to Maps enabling Google Street View, public transit and walking directions, automatic reverse geocoding for addresses on dropped pins, ability to turn off auto-correction (still no way to manage the cx list), and my favorite: tapping the home button when in a screen of apps other than the home screen to return to the first page of apps. Useful when you have more than 3 screens of apps (don't you!?).]

Republished from AppleInsider.com from 21 November 2008.

Apple early Friday morning released iPhone 2.2 Software Update, which delivers a number of improvements and adds Google Street View, public transit and walking directions, and more. A similar update is available for iPod touch users without the new Maps enhancements.

New Features

The update includes all of the features that were outlined in recent weeks, including Emoji icons for Japanese users. Apple has published a page on its website dedicated to the release, and specifically highlights the following enhancements:

  • Enhancements to Maps
    • Google Street View: Street View takes you on a virtual walking tour: Navigate street-level photographs of places you’ve located in Maps.
    • Public transit and walking directions: Get walking directions, find public transit schedules, check fares, and estimate your travel time.
    • Display address of dropped pins
    • Share location via email: Tap the Share Location button to send an email that includes a Google Maps URL.
  • Decrease in call setup failures and dropped calls
  • Enhancements to Mail
    • Resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of email
    • Improved formatting of wide HTML email
  • Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes application (over Wi-Fi and cellular network): Get access to millions of free podcasts on the iTunes Store via Wi-Fi or your cellular network.
  • Improved stability and performance of Safari: A new search-friendly user interface, better performance, and more stability make Safari even easier to use.
  • Improved sound quality of Visual Voicemail messages
  • Home screen shortcut: pressing Home button from any Home screen displays the first Home screen.
  • Preference to turn on/off auto-correction in Keyboard Settings

iPod touch Software v2.2

Apple has also released a similar update for iPod touch users, however the accounting principles adopted by the company require that it charge for ‘new feature’ additions to the digital media player. As such, the iPod touch version of the software does not include the Google Maps enhancements and there’s no word on when or how Apple plans to ultimately deliver those features.


An iPhone with v2.2 vs. and iPod touch with v2.2 | Image Credit: Gizmodo

Upgrading

To update your iPhone or iPod touch to version 2.2, make sure you are using iTunes 8 and then connect your iPhone or iPod to your computer. When iTunes opens, select your iPhone or iPod under Devices in the Source List on the left.

In the Summary pane, click “Check for Update.” Click Download and Install. Do not disconnect your device until the update has finished.

iPhone Software 2.2 to add public transit & walking directions (AppleInsider)

Friday, November 7th, 2008

[Editor's note: The next version of Apple's iPhone software will not only introduce Street Views to the handset's Maps application, but also provide bus, train and walking directions, a series of new photos reveal.]

Reprinted from AppleInsider.com. By Sam Oliver. Published: 02:00 PM EST October 25th, 2008.

Public Transit Directions

iPhoneYap has posted an extensive screenshot gallery from iPhone Software 2.2 beta 2, released Friday, which offers a walkthrough and detailed descriptions of the new features.

When set in Directions mode, Maps now offers three icons — car, public transit, and walking — centered at the top of screen, in between the “Edit” and “Start” buttons. Selecting the transit icon provides a list of transit choices that can include subways, buses, or a combination of the two.

A list of departure times and estimated commute times accompany each transit option. Once you select a particular method of transit, the Maps application will serve up step-by-step directions from your current location, usually directing you to your chosen departure subway or bus stop on foot. During commutes, Maps will specify when you should board or disembark from a bus or train.

Screenshots of iPhone 2.2 beta 2 showing public transit directions | Source: iPhoneYap.com

Street View

Meanwhile, Street views on the iPhone will let you view street-level photographs, just as they would at maps.google.com. To activate the feature, iPhoneYap reports that you simply need to “drop a pin or click a searched location to get the tooltip to popup from the pin.” The tooltip popup then serves as a gateway to the Street View interface.

Once in Street View, you’ll notice two options in a bar at the top of the screen: “Report” and “Done.” A small navigation circle showing your current location (on a map) overlays each Street View photograph.


Screenshots of iPhone 2.2 beta 2 showing Street Views | Source: iPhoneYap.com

Location Sharing

One final feature noticed in the new version of Maps is location sharing. Selecting the “Share Location” option of an address will auto-fill an email with a hyperlink to the location, which will automatically launch and load in Maps application of the recipient, assuming they too have an iPhone.


Screenshots of iPhone 2.2 beta 2 showing Share Location | Source: iPhoneYap.com

Paula Scher: Maps as Tag Clouds?!

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

paula scher europe

paula scher europe detail

Paula Scher has produced a series of nifty map art that focuses more on placenames than their locational placement. The placenames are in correct “relative” space but not absolute space. The names all run together in a placename tapestry where they swirl in colorful waves and eddies. Thanks Curt!

From the Maya Stendhal Gallery press release:

Maya Stendhal Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of renowned artist and graphic designer Paula Scher, which runs from November 8, 2007 through January 26, 2008. Scher expands on her highly acclaimed Maps series to create her most engaging work yet, depicting entire continents, countries and cities from all over the world that have been the critical focus of attention in recent headlines.

Through an acute understanding of the powerful relationship between type and image, Scher harmonizes witty with tragic, the methodical with the intuitive, and the personal with the universal in these new paintings. Dynamic images are saturated with layers of elaborate line, explosions of words, and bright colors creating a plethora of visual information that produces an emotive response to places lived, visited, and imagined. Scher’s maps also reflect the abundance of information that inundates us daily through newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet to reveal the fact that much of what we hear and read is strewn with inaccuracy, distorted facts, and subjectivity.

On view will be Tsunami (2006) depicting the area that was ravaged by the destructive natural force on December 26, 2004. Evoking memories of compassion and grief, the image is covered by a swirling vortex of words denoting towns, cities, and areas, which echo the violent rotation of that monumental storm. Paris’s (2007) bold blue and white péripherique rigidly maintains the city’s borders. While inside, Paris as we know it beams in a captivating latticework of blue, yellow, green, and purple exuding the city’s sense of vitality and charm. China (2006) shows a colossal landmass with cities, provinces, and roads pulsating in reds, blues, greens, and yellows. Listed above are the astounding statistics that make China one of the world’s great centers of capitalism and culture. Manhattan at night (2007) glows in deep jewel tones of purple, blue, green, and black. This enchanting quality is sobered as the median incomes of various neighborhoods disclose the very different realities of city residents. NYC Transit (2007) projects the city in intricate layers of line, text, and color that culminate with the iconic map of the New York City subway system. The major outsourcing destination of India (2007) takes form in a giant pink landmass accented with bright blue and green road markers and orange location names, which give the impression of a sign for its popular Bollywood industry. Israel (2007) presents the country and bordering countries including Egypt, Palestine, Jordon, Syria, and Iran. Text representing cities and regions is written in varying, haphazard directions communicating a visual sense of conflict and discord. Middle East (2007) segregates the area by rendering each country in its own bold color. The land’s sordid past is remembered through hatch marks and dots representing the Babylonian Empire, Moslem Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Roman Empire.

Ms. Scher began her career creating album covers for CBS Recordings in the 1970ís. She moved on to art direction for magazines at Time Inc., and in the 1980ís formed her own boutique firm, Koppel & Scher. She has been a principal at the New York-based Pentagram design consultancy since 1991, where she has created visual identities for Citibank, The New York Public Theater, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others.

Further reading:

Andy Woodruff over at the Cartogrammar blog has a post that lists other tag cloud like maps with images.

Getting Stuck (NY Times)

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Editor’s note: I like how the “worst 10″ table shows all the different map variables in a single matrix where they can be compared numerically. The map shows “all” the sundry elevators in New York City as graduated circles where they can be compared visually. The circles are graduated in size for any of three variables. The mapped variable is chosen with a dropDown menu easily found at the top of the display. There is not an overwhelming number of variables, but those that are listed are fully integrated and cross referenced within the display by using rollOvers on each circle. The DNA-sequence-style time series below the map shows breakdowns by day for 2 elevators and provides a finer resolution picture than the year-sum map. It would be cool if the table and the map could trigger each other (on mouseOver the Times Square station on the map, that row in the table highlights, and visa versa).

May 19, 2008 by Matthew Bloch, Shan Carter and Ford Fessenden/The New York Times

A New York City Transit program to install elevators and escalators in the city’s subway system has been plagued with problems. The machines often break down or are closed for repairs and maintenance and many people have been stuck in elevators. Last year, there were 286 incidents, known as entrapments, in which passengers were stuck in elevators, up from 177 in 2006.

Screenshot below. See and interact with the original Flash graphic here.

ny city elevator outages