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Bus Tracking System

Never rush for a late bus again
  [vote for,

Where I come from, commuters have the option of buying monthly bus passes, which give them free access to all the buses in the city for the entire month. For those of us who are disorganized/can't remember when rarely-used buses come, however, this can be less of a convenience than it might seem.

Seeing as the prices for these monthly passes are already abominably high, I see future bus companies being able to afford handing out funky little GPS-type gizmos that show the entire city on a tiny grid. (Alternitively, these could be sold. Downer.) All the buses would be tracked on this system at all times (appearing as tiny dots on the screen*), so that you wouldn't have to rely on the bus schedule to figure out when your bus was coming. As well, on particularly snowy days, you wouldn't be caught waiting for half an hour at your stop while your bus lumbers pathetically through the mush ten miles away: you could sit at home drinking coffee until (aha!) you notice that your bus is close enough to home - and then it's time to head out, with no panic, no hurry.

Perhaps as a cheaper alternative, this could be available on the Internet - though those of us without laptops would only be able to make use of this service at home or (perhaps, depending on the job) work.

This would also be really useful in terms of investigating a new bus route. If maps of the buses' routes were also available through these things, trip planning would be a breeze.

*Just realized this sounds like something out of Harry Potter. Nyeh... *

funky_strings, Jan 17 2005

Helsinki's WAP bus tracking system http://www.thefeatu...cle?articleid=11469
An old article, but at least it's not in Finnish. [wagster, Jan 17 2005]

Bus tracking in Brighton http://www.google.c...22%2Bbrighton&hl=en
Not quite baked yet but getting there. [DrBob, Jan 17 2005]

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       I find the price of bus passes apalling too, but it's certainly not as expensive as a GPS unit. Actually, I think the bus companies around me are pretty strapped for cash.   

       As an internet sevice it seems pretty workable. There are probably a fair number of people who could acess the service on their cell phones.
tiromancer, Jan 17 2005

       Bus timetables tend to be posted at busstops, making it easy for those who don't own a timetable to find out when the next bus wil be. As this is not always accurate, a better solution might be to employ the method used for the trams in Gothenburg. They have an L.E.D bar displaying when the next tram of each type is coming, based on it's current position in the system.
[ sctld ], Jan 17 2005

       I'm afraid this is fairly baked, [funky_strings]. Helsinki has had all it's buses locatable in real time via WAP for a while now (link). Not quite as user-friendly as your plan, but does the same job and cheaper and easier to implement as most people already have WAP access from their mobiles.
wagster, Jan 17 2005

       The GPS unit could be directional (much like some GPS car maps) that way you can scan the area for buses, making the most of the small screen and giving you an orientation for your map.   

       Perhaps it could also be able to scroll out and back so that an arc of the map can be scanned at a specified distance.
madness, Jan 17 2005

       I proposed the exact same thing two years ago when I was a freshman baker. I wonder if I can get the Wayback machine to cough it up.
spiritualized, Jan 17 2005


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