Where's the Streetcar? Right there. And there. And there.
TTC streetcars are capable of being equipped with GPS tracking devices, and the technology exists to pinpoint their precise location... as you read this. But up until now, this information has not been harnessed and relayed by the TTC to the public.
But it appears that this is all going to change very soon.
This morning, blogTO reader Greg Washington, along with other fellow transit riders using the 510 Spadina streetcar, got an exciting sneak peek at what appears to be a dual screen electronic board that displays next departure information and real-time tracking of all vehicles on the route. How cool is that!?
When I myself went to check it out during lunch hour today, the screens were off, which suggests to me that the system is not quite ready to go live.
What has really got me excited are the possibilities for the future. Imagine a web and mobile phone application that uses actual vehicle position and traffic flow data to deliver us real-time scheduling information?
Stuff happens on the roads that take public transit off of their fixed schedule - all the time. This pretty much makes posted schedules and mobile phone apps that use fixed schedule data (no matter how wonderfully designed and implemented they are) to be inherently difficult to rely on in the real world. GPS could change all of that.
I just chatted briefly with the the folks at the TTC, who unfortunately aren't able to say much about this exciting development quite yet. A media advisory will be issued tomorrow, and the big news release is planned for next Monday. We'll have to wait patiently for official word.
In the mean time, let's consider the questions...
Which routes will be getting the monitoring screens? Which need them most? Will the TTC be delivering real-time web and mobile phone-based route planning? When?
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