Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bus Stop Bus Monitoring

Bus stops on State Street have route maps and local schedules. By local schedule I mean a list of the times the bus is supposed to be at that stop, assuming all goes well at the previous time point. (All time points are bus stops, but most bus stops are not time points.)

Suppose each bus had a GPS and ID, which the central routing system mapped into a position on the street. One could estimate the corrected arrival time for a bus all along its route and display the info at simple computer displays at each bus stop. Most of the time this would be close enough to the estimated one that it would make no difference, but in bad weather (think 8 inches of snow) I'd find it helpful to know whether the bus I was waiting for was canceled or merely late. (Do I take the other bus and make different connections, or wait another 20 minutes?)

Of course, it would be really fun to have a dynamic city bus map, showing where all the buses were.

Of course, I can burst my own bubble here. I know what happens to bus shelters: they get plastered with Grateful Dead stickers and gang slogans, and perhaps vandalized with lighters. A computer display would simply be a more attractive target for the lowlifes who love destruction.


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