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Animated map tracks every TTC vehicle

Posted by Derek Flack / May 9, 2014

animated TTC map TorontoEver since the TTC added GPS technology to its surface vehicles, commuter life has gotten considerably better. Most transit apps will provide both an up to the second ETA on your next bus or streetcar as well as an animated map that plots out the location of these vehicles. No more waiting at the bus stop in vain for 20 minutes. That said, mobile apps don't do much when you want to get a sense of the big picture (because why would they?). That's what makes this TRAVIC map interesting -- at least for us urban nerds.

"This tracker provides movement visualization of transit data published by transit agencies and operators from all over the world," reads a description on the website. "The movements are mostly based on static schedule data. Whenever real-time data is available it is also included in the visualization."

Watching the map for a bit (an activity that is strangely calming), it seems like it currently relies on the former rather than the latter, which means you wouldn't want to use it to determine when your next vehicle is set to arrive. Where it holds interest is in showing the sheer number of vehicles in the network at any one given time. TTC bashing is one of our favourite collective exercises as Torontonians, but a map like this gives a good sense of the complexity that defines the transit system.

Oh, and if it looks like the dots aren't moving, just zoom in.



Neato / May 9, 2014 at 02:49 pm
Long Branch Mike / May 9, 2014 at 03:04 pm
Very cool. Like watching bugs inch along.

It should have arrows though, so you can tell instantly which way each streetcar's going, in case they are stopped at a light.
NeatO / May 9, 2014 at 03:31 pm
That is so, so cool! I did not know that the Scarb RT only has 5 trains. Very interesting and handy!
matt / May 9, 2014 at 04:11 pm
So if anyone can see this, why do the supervisors do such a bad job of short turning when they shouldn't or not cracking down on 2, 3, 4 vehicles leaving the station/terminal at once, bunching up from the get go?OOh , that's right, unionism. Drivers hide behind the union and management is powerless to do anything as long as the MINIMUM acceptable standard is done ( or for long enough to get the bad conduct off their records). Disgusting. No wonder our city has such a bad transit system. Show me a party willing to do away with the unions and I'll vote for them. The O.H.S.A made unions obsolete but they are still around, strong arming and bullying companies the same way they claim they are against. Well I guess they are against it if someone is doing it to them.
Trin / May 9, 2014 at 04:16 pm
"This tracker provides movement visualization of transit data published by transit agencies and operators from all over the world. The movements are mostly based on static schedule data. Whenever real-time data is available it is also included in the visualization."

Scrolling out, it reads--
Provider: TTC
Realtime: no

Kim / May 9, 2014 at 04:21 pm
Cool, except there must be some averaging going on there, since the vehicles don't actually stop at the stations - just roll right through.
Saint Clair replying to a comment from matt / May 9, 2014 at 05:26 pm
Not only do the streetcars come in bunches, there are often multiple supervisors along the route with clipboards. Do you think those guys make $30k/yr? If the supervision of the streetcars was centralized to one desk, then all the other supervisors would be out of work. No way the union would let the city save that kind of money.
Anyone who has played a Sims game can do just as good a job as the status quo, given the real-time tools.
Rant over.
Gord C replying to a comment from matt / May 9, 2014 at 05:47 pm
You might have it all wrong. A lot of this comes from the higher pay grades than you mentioned. After about 0910hrs and about 1735hrs, the senior managers have put pressure on the route supervisors and handlers to minimize overtime. It has nothing to do with customer performance and everything to do with time management.
... That's why you see some drivers exchange units in the middle of the route. Its because either one or both of those operators are knocking on the door of overtime. There are some routes on the TTC in which the drivers are almost guaranteed overtime every day.
TOJoe / May 9, 2014 at 06:56 pm
Wanted to see if it was relatively accurate and on a northbound 161 Rogers Rd. bus it went by my house exactly as the map did, but a southbound went by as well and it wasn't indicated on the map whatsoever.
Bill Reno replying to a comment from matt / May 10, 2014 at 01:41 pm
'Matt' blames the unions for the TTC's problems. Maybe he's too young to remember when the TTC had the world's most enviable transit system (same union) but things started to go downhill when Conservative premier Mike Harris laughingly cut off all provincial funding for the TTC in 1996 and the subsequent Liberals failed to restore all but a fraction of those cuts. Then we got our Brainiac Mayor Ford who refused to "give another dime" to the TTC. Politicians, not unions, have wrecked the TTC.
Alyssa replying to a comment from matt / May 12, 2014 at 10:01 am
The OHSA made unions obsolete? Most labour market researchers would disagree. Accident have declined, to something like 3 deaths a day occur in Canada on an average day, but that has more to do with the fact that most manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to other countries, and them taking the losses.
Unions are meant to counter the employer and maintain bargaining control for the employee, which is why they have stable employment and compensation and benefits. They also maintain employment diversity in the work force.

If you consider all the issues that have arisen with temporary foreign workers and clawback of the minimum wage - which is even below what the effective minimum wage is - I'd rather keep unions which offset wage suppression because it benefits me and other people who work in the private sector.
Its "trickle up" theory: If my wages are stagnant, a bump in the minimum wage will eventually bump my salary up.
Randy McDonald / May 12, 2014 at 10:12 pm
It doesn't seem to be working now, unfortunately.
James / June 23, 2014 at 05:19 pm
I would like to see this view using the real-time data. It is available in the TTC Real-Time Next Vehicle Arrival data feed. That's what the various next bus apps use.
Other Cities: Montreal