Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Google Transit

via Matt Yglesias

I noticed recently that Google Maps was starting to give directions by foot, as well as car, but it appears in participating cities you can also get directions by mass transit. Unfortunately, the MBTA isn't participating... I presume because they already have their own "trip planner" on their website which has similar features. If that is indeed their thinking, it seems a little shortsighted as Google has a much larger ability to mainstream this kind of thing than isolated transit websites... if people get used to getting access to bus and train schedules the same way they get driving directions it seems like it would definitely drive up ridership... especially on the less "newb friendly" types of transit, like buses. It's also hard to overestimate how handy the "street view" of Google Maps can be for identifying where a bus stop or subway station is.

Anyway, here's an example from New York, getting from the Met to see the Mets:

View Larger Map

If you click on the link, you'll see you can select up to 4 different routes taking different trains, or only buses, with ETAs. Pretty cool. I do wonder, in the end, how many people besides tourists and new residents would use it that much... for the most part I know how to get around the city... but then, probably if you asked me how often I'd get driving directions when that was new I'd probably have said "rarely" too, where now I often double check directions even to places we go semi-frequently.