USING GOOGLE TRANSIT for TRIP-PLANNING
Planning your next trip aboard a Palm Tran bus just got easier. Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology are quickly becoming the preferred means for individual service planning. Already available to Palm Tran's Communication and Dispatch Center, Palm Tran Supervisors monitor buses and operators on a real-time display screen depicting the street network, actual bus locations, and other pertinent information. Similar information is now available to Palm Tran Riders on their desktops, laptops, or data plan equipped smart phones. Google Transit and InfoPoint (from Avail Technologies) are two new on-line service products now available to commuters. Since both products are new, improvements are envisioned as we become more familiar with these products.
A typical first time Rider, unsure about how to get from here to there, need only have access to Google Maps http://maps.google.com (for desktops and laptops) or http://m.google.com/maps (for data plan equipped smart phones) to retrieve schedule and bus stop information. Palm Tran joins a growing cadre of transit systems using Google Transit, in Florida and across the County. Anyone can plan a trip using Google Transit, for example from Miami International Airport, to the Palm Beach County Courthouse using multiple modes of travel (walking, bus, train, bike, and automobile). This service calculates the route, transit time and cost, and compares alternate trip methods. A quick launch ICON is available at the top of Palm Tran's internet home page.
Upon opening Google Maps, first select “Get Directions” at the left of the screen under the “Google maps” logo. You will then be prompted to select a transit mode icon; an origin point; a destination point; a reference time (leave now, depart at, or arrive by); and a date and time for that reference point. Now select the “Get Directions” box and Google Transit will present you with available options. Selecting an option will detail the trip planned. Further selections will provide additional information. Map/satellite imagery displays are available. Available smart phone with options include Android, iPhone, and Windows Mobile 7. Older phones have decreasing capability.
USING REAL-TIME INFORMATION for BUS LOCATIONS
What about real time information on where my bus is and when it will be here? InfoPoint provides all this and more (http://www.pbcgov.com/infopoint). It is designed for those who know their schedule and bus stop but often want to know more. Is it on time? When is my bus arriving? When is the next bus departing? Anyone connected to the web can see real-time information; for example what the bus number is and what the estimated departure is on the Route 40 from the Mall at Wellington Green to the West Palm Beach Intermodal Transit Center or Downtown West Palm Beach. A quick launch ICON is available at the top of Palm Tran's internet home page.
Upon opening InfoPoint, first select a route (at the left) and you will notice the map/satellite image displays the route selected, all bus stops and the locations of buses on that route. Move to a bus stop listing (just right of Routes) and all the associated bus stops for your route are listed. Select a bus stop and the map/satellite image of that bus stop enlarges with an informational balloon displaying the bus stop name and number, Route name and number, destination direction, times[scheduled departure time (SDT) and estimated departure time (EDT)], and the time this information was last updated. If transfers are available at the bus stop, select “Click for More!” or “Scheduled Departures – Other Routes” and a similar informational balloon on available transfer connections are displayed. Selecting a specific bus icon displays an informational balloon containing the bus number, route name, on-time status, last bus stop served, and direction. Available mobile phone options include Android, Windows Mobile 7, iPhone (Older phones have Estimated Departure Time only).
Dynamic Messaging displays are also available at a select number of major bus stops including the West Palm Beach Intermodal Transfer Center and most Palm Beach County Tri-Rail Train Stations. These display the official Palm Tran clock time, route number and name, and the associated estimated departure time. Audio messaging is also available for the hearing impaired. The Rider who have access to the web is now empowered with both schedule and real-time information. More than just static unchanging schedule information, the Rider with real-time access will be able to reduce waiting time, feel safer, enjoy quicker inquires responses, improved efficiencies and reliability. In two words—OVERALL SATISFACTION. Palm Tran is using GIS technologies to better serve your ever changing needs. Stay tuned for further trip planning and customer improvements at Palm Tran.
Last updated : 09/05/2012