Bringing Google Transit to New York would be an ambitious undertaking.
Google Transit, part of Google’s
plan to take over the world laboratory of experimental services, is pretty nifty. Using, as Google puts it, all available public transportation schedules and information, the service supposedly plots out the most efficient route from point to point. It includes the option to view various routes and has a cost comparison tool.
The only problem for us in New York is that the service is available only in a few regions of the country right now. All of that, however, could change. This post on Read/WriteWeb points to an article on Bloomberg.com announcing that Google is looking to take on a Transit map for the entire New York Metropolitan area.
Chris Dolmetsch and Ari Levy from Bloomberg News have more:
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit, which together carry more than 9 million people a day, are working with [Google] to give users one place to go for maps, schedules and trip planners. The agencies serve the five New York City boroughs and suburbs in New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester County and Long Island.
“We are always looking for ways to incorporate technology in what we do,” Jim Redeker, assistant executive director of New Jersey Transit, said in a telephone interview from Newark. Google has “good experience at making this work.”
According to the article, New Jersey Transit will share its route map and schedule information with the search company, and the MTA is in talks to do the same. Furthermore, this would be, by far, the most ambitious undertaking for Google Transit as New York City alone has 468 subway stops, just 35 fewer than the rest of the nation combined. When one factors in the Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, PATH and New Jersey Transit, the number of stations just keeps on growing.
While the article notes that public transportation use in Duluth, Minnesota, increased by 12 percent after Google Transit took on the city’s public transportation system, I would find it hard to believe New York would be in line for a similar increase. First, the city’s public transportation system is so pervasive that it is already an ingrained part of life in New York City. I wonder if Duluth can say the same?
Additionally, we already have many of the services that a New York-oriented Google Transit service would provide. From the MTA Trip Planner and the NJ Transit Itinerary Planner to Hopstop, OnNYTurf’s Subway map and GypsyMaps, New Yorkers aren’t lacking for direction-minded Websites.
None of those sites, however, provide information for all of the city’s transit services (bus, regional rail, subway) in one place, and Google, who, according to Bloomberg, hopes to make a pretty penny from a New York-oriented transit site, would fulfill that need. And as Allison L. C. de Cerreño, director of New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, said to Bloomberg, “Most people know Google. That’s actually a very powerful way to get the information in one place, in a way that most people are familiar with.”
A hat tip to Brian for this story.