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Maps, Apps, and Websites - Alaska Community Transit Conference - October 2013
Transcript of Maps, Apps, and Websites - Alaska Community Transit Conference - October 2013
Alaska Community Transit Conference, October 2013
Aaron Antrim, Trillium Solutions
Transit service can be complicated.
Our job is to make information clear,
and easy-to-understand for customers.
What's in a website?
What does the customer see first?
Will one click get them the most important information?
Websites: focus on core purpose
Show connection information
Include system map, possibly on homepage
Timetables in HTML format, not PDF
Include trip planner
Link to relevant, connecting services
Show images of people and local geography
"Opportunities to leverage GTFS" report
Google Maps seamlessly integrates regional, multi-agency information
Best practices for transit websites
GTFS data for trip planning and multi-modal applications
Website best practices
Show service information front-and-center.
See the problem?
Service information is buried.
key service information above-the-fold
other links below-the-fold
What is GTFS?
Engage with developers, transit customers
GTFS = General Transit Feed Specification
Created in 2005 by Google and TriMet
Now a de facto standard, it is is the most popularly-used data format to describe fixed-route transit services in the world
More than 200 transit agencies in the U.S. provide public GTFS data
CSV files describe geo-spatial, schedule, fare, and service calendar information.
Active, evolving standard
The full Spec is at https://developers.google.com/transit/gtfs/reference
Survey available tools
Make data openly available on consistent terms, so developers can build applications, and more customers can use those applications.
Trip planning and maps
Timetable & maps creation
Visualization / contexts
Planning / analysis
Develop license or guidelines
plane, train, bus, and drive
bike, walk, transit, and drive
timetables, maps, and destination tables
open-source software to proof and create PDF and HTML timetables
How far can you go using transit?
OpenTripPlanner Analyst Extension
detours, service alerts, exceptions, arrival estimates
Determine existing data and software resources
Open GTFS data offers particular utility for multimodal "supernetworks"
air + intercity bus or rail
bike + transit
bikeshare + transit
rideshare + transit
carshare + transit
demand-response + fixed-route transit
transit / carshare / taxi / vanpool
compare and combine options:
The future of GTFS
Publish on agency site
Include in data exchange sites
Mendocino Transit Authority
Google Maps for mobile
trip planner, arrival estimates + other Google Maps features
Evolution and growth
GTFS producers and consumers (transit agencies and app developers) discuss potential changes
demonstrable, useful changes are adopted
some potential changes under discussion:
expansion of capabilities to describe fares: peak/off-peak, day of week, line-to-line transfers, etc.
capability to describe hail-and-ride, flex-routes, and other demand-response services
Interactive, zoomable maps to show context, detail
If your agency implements an AVL or arrival estimate system, require GTFS-realtime.
Service alerts and arrival estimates
Many ways to disseminate
Limits of Facebook and Twitter for service alerts
67% of online adults say they use Facebook; 16% of online adults say they use Twitter (The Demographics of Social Media Users — 2012, Pew Internet & American Life Project).
bart.gov example: 5,000 people follow @SFBARTalert, ~170,000 text and email alerts
Support good public relations
Complement other marketing and outreach programs
Support an open, engaged planning process
Provide customer support
Use communication tools that your customers want to use
Crowdsource customer support
Provide reassurance, help passengers make decisions on-the-go
"Getting real about the utility of social media for transit"
This presentation: bit.ly/alaska-transit-apps-2013
Stay up to date: www.trilliumtransit.com/blog
Uses for brand enhancement, customer service, and partnership development
gtfs-realtime for 3rd party applications
text message alerts
for customers with "feature phones"
on the agency website:
in context of timetables
Google Maps for mobile
RouteShout from RouteMatch
Google Maps for web
Email and text subscriptions
Types of alert and
Provide all or some:
Current service exceptions / delays / detours
Planned service exceptions
Real-time vehicle locations
Real-time arrival estimates
Social media is a firehose, not a faucet
How to use the web to make transit simple.
Transit riders are online.
People already know how to use online maps & directions.
Regular schedules can be hard to use.
Why does online transit information matter?
85% of adults are online
98% -- ages 18-29 yrs/old
83% -- ages 50-64
56% -- 65+
76% -- incomes less than $30,000/yr
80% -- rural
Transit riders are online.
People already know how to use online maps and directions.
Regular schedules can be hard-to-use.
The third most common internet activity for Americans is to “search for a map or driving directions,” (87%) behind only email and using search engines.
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project – tracking survey (2008)
Result of Florida study
Almost half of participants were unable to correctly identify bus times using the tabular schedules.
Design Elements of Effective Transit Information Materials,
National Center for Transit Research
at the University of South Florida
…how do they discover and become aware of the
transit service you provide?
Before a passenger visits your website…
People discover transit service by seeing a vehicle or stop.
People discover transit service through web-search.
People discover transit through maps & directions search.
A short, easy-to-remember
web-address is useful to refer customers to more information.
Cost for domain name registration:
$10/year at Godaddy.com
Try searching for your agency…
To improve search engine rank:
Add relevant keywords to your website
Ask other websites to link to your website
Transit directions should be a click away.
Consistency with printed materials
Statewide Oregon GTFS data & maintenance
40+ agencies with GTFS
existing scheduling software
Make transit service easy to find and discover online with short URL and search engine optimization
Use best practices for rider-focused website that puts important information first
Give timely updates to put riders in control.
Use open GTFS data to put transit information where riders need it.