Vehicle: Bus: Bus Stop
Bus Stop Webcams   (+7, -5)  [vote for, against]
Logon to your local stop to see how busy it is.

Bus routes are normally identified by a 3 digit number, and a given bus-route is likely to have < 255 stops - a pair of shattering conincidences hitherto overlooked.

There's little more annoying than leaving your house to see the bus already moving away from your stop - if only you'd left 5 minutes earlier, or knowing you'd miss it anyway, you could have spent the next 20 minutes enjoying a cup of tea.

So, the simple solution is for the bus companies to install one of those ip-webcams at each stop - say the subnet of the company is 192.168.x.y - the x could signify the bus route, and the y could signify each of the stops.

A web interface might allow me to watch the live feeds from 4 or so chosen stops.

This way, if I catch the bus at stop 7, and it takes me 5 minutes to get there from home - I can log on to stop 4 or 5 to see what's going on, and time my departure to when I see the bus stopping there, meaning that both I and the bus should get to stop 7 at approximately the same time.

I can also guage how busy it is and maybe decide to use a different mode of transport instead.
-- zen_tom, Aug 04 2010

Bus tracking in Brighton. http://buses.citytr...n&optTime=now&time=
[DrBob, Aug 04 2010]

TFL iBus http://en.wikipedia.../London_iBus_system
Widely known to exist. [8th of 7, Aug 04 2010]

I like the potential safety and voyeuristic aspects, as well. Is she going to be on the bus again today? Let's find out.
-- daseva, Aug 04 2010

no, pixelate the faces!
-- po, Aug 04 2010

I think I've mentioned the bus tracking system in Brighton before, but I've posted the link again anyway.
-- DrBob, Aug 04 2010

[+] as it stands. Also: as a byproduct, gets more eyeballs on the bus stop, so that the, purse snatching, heart attack, or whatever, stands a better chance of being seen & reported to the emergency services.

Maybe add a loop system that discards video unless some random citizen on the internet clicks a button which sends the preceding 5 minutes to a police dispatcher. Further refinements are possible if "false alarms" prove to be a problem.

//pixelate the faces// Privacy's no (legal) issue because since when did anyone have a reasonable expectation of privacy at a bus stop?
-- mouseposture, Aug 04 2010

There's a serious difference between the concept of standing at a bus stop where any passer-by can see you and having your current location broadcast around the planet.
-- DrBob, Aug 04 2010

[Dr.Bob] Agreed: that's why I specified //(legal)//
-- mouseposture, Aug 04 2010

If the camera is placed high up and so as to provide a view along the roadway, it's nothing more than a publicly accessible traffic camera (which already exist). It can be aimed so as to largely avoid pedestrians.

Bus companies already monitor the location of their vehicles by GPS reporting, so it would be simpler to make that available to the public, like iBus:

"In the future, this data may be made available over mobile applications and the TfL website.[6] The information is already available on the Traveline website"
-- 8th of 7, Aug 04 2010

'm about as happy to have Joe Blow snooping around public streets electronically as I am the gov't : [-]
-- FlyingToaster, Aug 04 2010

There's a huge difference there - Joe Blow may possibly not be acting from venal and malicious motives.
-- 8th of 7, Aug 04 2010

Or Joe Blow might be venal and malicious and the Government might not.
-- hippo, Aug 04 2010

Or possibly, just possibly, you've been right all along and everyone is out to get you.
-- DrBob, Aug 04 2010

// Or Joe Blow might be venal and malicious //

That's true.

// and the Government might not. //

And that's just silly.
-- 8th of 7, Aug 04 2010 does it all.
-- el dueno, Aug 04 2010

I don't really recognise the privacy concerns. Once you're outside, assuming you're not wearing a balaclava, you are 'in public' and fair game to be seen by anyone who's also outside, or just looking out of a window.

And your location isn't being 'broadcast around the planet' since someone would have to know where you were in order to find you. i.e. it would be practically impossible to scan the many millions of bus-stop camera feeds to identify the location of a single individual - or at least it would be almost equally as tricky as actually going there in person and looking for them directly.

The point is for you to see what's going on in your own personal region of the world, to better enable you to plan your activities. If I mount a cctv camera on the inside of my fridge, that I can check whilst at work, to help me decide what to pick up from the supermarket on the way home, that isn't a violation of the privacy rights of the contents of my fridge, it's merely an aid to effective marshalling of my groceries.

Similarly, a simple scheme for checking whether the bus is coming in a minute is not, necessarily, a passport for those venal, malicious (and potentially bored) individuals for whom observation of the bus-going public might provide some interest, solace or value.

GPS is ok, but I don't want to look on a map, I want to see a section of road that I recognise, in just the same way as I do at the bus stop when I stand on my toes and look to see whether the bus is coming, and see whether the bus is coming, just from the comfort of my flat, and not outside, in the rain.
-- zen_tom, Aug 06 2010

disagree, I just don't want any number of nutters (ex-husbands, people who mistake me for someone else or misc fruitcakes) just spotting me on the webcam and coming for me - call me cowardly if you wish...
-- po, Aug 06 2010

No, I wouldn't call you cowardly - but, let's review the motives, situation and likely actions of these questionable gentlemen you mention:
1) They're sitting at home with nothing better to do than watching out for certain people at random bus-stops (perhaps they have a 'list')
1a) This is something they might already have been doing anyway, from the bushes, with a telescope, binoculars, or other surveillance equipment.
1b) Now, they can happily surveill from the comfort of their own home.

2) Having spotted you, they now have a number of options:
i) Come after you with (malicious, amorous, or fruit-based) intent
ii) Stay at home, out of the rain.

If, as determined before, they are just in the bushes, they will be significantly closer to getting to you, than if they were at home and had to first travel to the bus stop (requiring them to comb their hair, put their sneakers on and brush their teeth) by which time the bus is likely to have gone - taking you to safety with it - at least more likely than if they were just waiting in the bushes (like a proper stalker should)

But, perhaps there is something in it - automatic face pixilation could be an option I suppose, but that's kind of creepy - all those anonymised faces, smudged out of existence - not the sort of image I want at the start of the working day - if anything, I'd like to see floating nametags based on face-recognition technology tell me who's at the bus-stop, so I can decide whether to go down and chat with them, or take a book.

What if, instead of transmitting a signal via the internet, we managed to set up a series of tubes and mirrors so that, by looking out of your window, you could see what was going on at the bus-stop?

Maybe there'd be a way of logging on, only to those bus-stops in your local vicinity? After-all, I have no reason to want to know what's going on at Stop 32 on the 234 to Shrovesbury, because I don't live anywhere near there - so maybe we should restrict access based on geographical adjacency?
-- zen_tom, Aug 06 2010

yeah but they can only hide behind one bush - not lurk about on many cams.
-- po, Aug 06 2010

We had webcams across our campus. That could have helped lure a psychotic episode from a student or two. It's an interesting topic in that what we really care about is 'are we coaxing bad behavior'? I would tend to say 'no'. If someone is ready to do crazy shit to you they don't need a webcam to get it along.

Might be a good plot device. Seeing the police dash by perhaps, you got one minute to get out man!
-- daseva, Aug 06 2010

There's a criminal opportunity here. Police services have a finite number of vehicles. A couple of bright lads with a few laptops could keep tabs on most of the marked units, and it's easy enough to get a list of the unmarked ones too. Then charge for access to your real time database ....
-- 8th of 7, Aug 06 2010

random, halfbakery