Monday, January 26, 2015

Real Time

I actually was an urban economist in my former life. Economists are sometimes good at coming up with very complicated ways of trying to prove what is obvious. My memory of the research is that people value their time with respect to public transit just how you'd expect. They don't mind time spent riding so much. They hate waiting, and they especially hate waiting if they don't know when the next bus/train/whatever is actually going to show up.

My local transit authority has had a pretty good "real time" location app for buses and trolleys for a few years now. It isn't perfect - it doesn't poll the location frequently enough and a bit too often vehicles "ghost" for whatever reason - but it gives a pretty good guess about when that bus might show up. A more accurate system will be great.

For some reason they don't do a good job advertising this stuff. A woman at the bus stop was very excited when I showed her where the bus was on my phone. It definitely is life improving if you ride regularly.