Use GoLive to Plan Area Transit Trips

GoTriangleArea transit just got easier. Today GoTriangle introduced GoLive , is a free automated tool providing public transportation riders with real-time arrival predictions for Triangle Transit, Chapel Hill Transit, Durham Area Transit Authority, Capital Area Transit and North Carolina State University’s Wolfline buses. C-Tran, the Town of Cary’s transit service, will also be part of the GoLive system beginning in early 2012.

GoLive leverages Google Maps to assemble transit trips between two destinations. One can change walking, transfer, and layover priorities among many other options. What’s most valuable is the system’s integration of all of the area’s fragmented services. The service appears to be web-only for now, but does offer links to other area mobile apps.

It appears that TransLōc has done good job with the online application. After using the outstanding Transit Genie app to navigate Chicago, TransLoc’s had to do a lot to impress me. While the service does integrate the systems, there are still some logic holes with the routing. For instance some of the transfer choices in Chapel Hill so not seem efficient.

I planned about a dozen trips at different times of day, and one of the ?un/intended? effects of the app is the realization that using transit takes way, way more time than using a car. For example a trip to the DPAC from the North Hills area requires nearly two hours for transit, while a car trip usually takes right at 30 minutes. Trips to Chapel Hill from most places but the Hillsborough Street spine take around 1.5 hours. While high-occupancy vehicle transit will never match the efficiency of a car when connecting a remote area to others, it seems that the transit system still could be much more effective. My conclusion after using the app is that the area still really needs more comprehensive bus service before people think twice about using it. Personally I would love to see TTA launch express buses to the Dean Smith Center, DPAC, and DPAC from Raleigh for nighttime events.

Nevertheless, public transit system is an evolutionary process, and an integrated routing service is clearly the next step the area’s progression. In fact, this isn’t just a mundane hurdle, as the integration of so many services is commendable and perhaps unmatched in the US?

The service will certainly encounter some bugs, but as soon as this is worked out, it is imperative to develop apps for Android and iOS, as the target audience for transit expansion is consistent with the heaviest app users. If GoLive can offer an app that is as much fun to use and as impressive as TransitGenie, they can actually make the process of riding the bus a huge selling point for transit.

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