RTA gets a trip planner

Submitted by Susan Miller on Thu, 02/02/2006 - 00:37.

Ohmigod! Taking public transit just got easier. Visit the RTA website http://www.gcrta.org

Check it out. Still waiting for the wifi bus and train. What's up with that? Is anyone hearing Lev Gonick on this issue?

Kudos to the web and trip planner folks at RTA! 

 

RTA website and schedules very useful

I take RTA daily and the website is very useful. I usually take the trains and they are almost always exactly on-time.

What they could do much better is provide interesting info and content on their digital update screens, placed in stations at Tower City, Shaker Square and other major junctions. They make terrible use of the technology and capability. 

transit ideas long response

Yes Norm. I have been holding this in my mind as a suggestion when they get the trip planner on line. I made some suggestions to the webmaster and have had a preliminary conversation with Rich Enty who is in charge of Transit Waiting Environments. Rich and I talked about the trip planner and he got me hooked up with Jackie Griffin there who put their new trip planner online.

I would advocate kiosks in TWEs that have trip planning and that access their website. Then, if their website accessed the places you could go in Cleveland, it would be so cool. So let's say you were standing around in the airport, Tower City or at Windemere Rapid stop and you went to the kiosk and looked at "Around Cleveland". There would be a list of places to visit, like The Western Reserve Historical Society, for example. Choosing this landmark would give you the opportunity to visit the WRHS website and see their hours and their promo. Then if you choose the landmark as a destination, the trip planner helps you get there. What an interesting way to make internet use available to the waiting public. Places that want to be listed might have to make a nominal contribution to be connected to the site, because I'm sure resources are scarce at RTA, but it would be a great resource for visitors. I think that the CVB and RTA should get hooked up to provide a searchable database of destinations for visitors. If you could arrive at Hopkins and go to a kiosk where you could search Thai food or vegetarian restaurants and then know how to get there via public transit, now you're talking about a digital city.  

Convention Center -- my ass. I don’t know how anyone visiting here could find anything interesting to do after hours without visiting the hotel lobby and looking at the rack cards.  That is not because there is nothing to do, but the media does such a poor job of organizing it. Surely there is some way for people to find the things they are interested in doing at 6 p.m. and be there for the 8 p.m. curtain with a discounted (I took the transit to get here, purchased the ticket online) e-reservation on the terminal of the person at Playhouse Square. If Southwest Airlines can do it, what are we waiting for?

I have little interest in slogging through all the concert listings in the Free Times to identify the chamber music event that is happening for free 5 blocks from my house tonight. I need to be able to say, I am free tonight what is happening near the restaurant where I want to dine and how can I get there via transit?

And the transit needs to have wireless connections. If people could work while they commute or read the news while en route, the park and ride lots along Van Aken would be full and people would be parking on side streets.

Ryan McKenzie thinks I'm nuts, but I envision the parking lots ar Beachwood Place full of cars parked to ride downtown for work. Coffee Places built out on the outer ring next to transit stops would be the hot spots for in and out travel from the blueblood exurbs.

The real kicker is the knowledge that RTA’s funds come from 1% of the county sales tax. Now if there were more suburban riders, don't you think that a percentage increase referendum would go a lot further?

I have only scratched the surface... the glacial pace of government entities is frustrating, but I am learning to be patient. 

 

Now THIS is what I am talking about!

As a former webmaster of RTA (June 1999 - February 2000), this is something that I have wanted since my second day on the job.  

 I am very excited about this...now, if only the map looked better...

Derek Arnold

GIS RTA via CSU

resources are certainly scarce at RTA, but it would be simple and inexpensive to set-up the type of interactive mapping system you are speaking of by having a student from CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs geocode all station addresses and restaurant/attraction addresses into the current mapping software. this process only requires familiarity with GIS which many Levin students possess and a couple dozen hours of looking up addresses.
combine that with some better map results that clearly delineate street names ala google's transitmapping beta and you've got a real passenger friendly system!
people will be jumping out of their cars to ride! :>)
the kiosks will be the expensive proposition but there will be some sort of interactive kiosks on the ECTP that will display historical info, though im not sure what else.
PATIENCE. i think we can make this happen!

Your are right about the GIS

There are also GIS programs at Kent and Youngstown, and the county, etc., so making all that capability more functional is doable - and could work for PDAs as well. How do we get these resources working together?

kiosk GUI

intriguing stuff coming out of yahoo's new mapping beta.

take a look at this which would certainly work well at a transit station
http://api.local.yahoo.com/eb/

Great stuff happening in mapping

No doubt - Drupal (the technology we use for realneo) has a proximity feature we are now deploying, and this community can definitely use mapping and other technologies to connect the dots... RTA shoiuld be part of a regional solution, but others must join in the collaboration.

 

Think big. I want the system to know my schedule (calendar) and know where and when I need to go places, and tell me (real-time) when the next public trasportation opportunity will come by - from my office, I could take many routes... which bus will get me where I need to go on time. If I want the system to suggest things to see or do along the way, or near my meetings, all the better..."Note Claes Oldenberg Sculpture out your right window". Next stop, businesses will pay me to stop - "10% off on lunch at Sergios today... do I want a reservation?" I want a reservation.

 

Key to all this is quality content, which needs to be created, maintained and updated real-time - some will be automated but some must be community derived (Yahoo and RTA don't know what public art we have... NEO doesn't even know what public art we have)... social computing is not about technology but context, such as using technology to build community around a region's arts.

RTA possibilities

PATIENCE is very valuable in working with RTA.
Needless to say, I love your energy and I think a few of the ideas have momementum that we could accelerate.

I asked Joe Calbreeze about wi-fiing the ECTP on the phone via WCPN yesterday and he informed me that RTA is indeed in talks with ONEcleveland.

PATIENCE - I have been asking about wi-fi on the ECTP since the meetings began 3 years ago.

WI-FI enables work to be done which encourages a better educated, higher income ridership, which inturn helps with funding and perhaps more importantly enables RTA to market to a wealthier demographic as a paltry 5% of their budget currently comes from adverts.

SNOWBALLS are certainly possible, but PATIENCE is entirely a requirement. I really like your enthusiasm - perhaps we could chat sometime.
RTA is so far from exploiting it's full potential!

WiFi coming to RTA

I understand someone from RTA announced today they are working with OneCleveland on wifi along the Euclid Corridor and more public access around the city, and I've heard that confirmed. It's coming together nicely - really amazing what I see.

kiosks et al

What I sent back to Joe Calabrese after the show on WCPN---

"When I say wayfinding kiosks, I mean computer terminals that have the trip planner and RTA website and the links for landmarks in something like the Brain http://www.greencitybluelake.org/network/brainmap/plex.htm  for tourists and hometown tourists.

 

Using the trip planner I can decide where to go and what to do there, how to get there and get a discount for riding RTA to accomplish all that. I think that the CVB should bear the cost for these things since they could link their event calendar to it and organize an evening for a visitor or a Clevelander from any transit waiting environment that has these kiosks. There are similar terminals in airports for ticketing and on campuses for class schedules and registration. It is a way to open internet (closed circuit) literacy skills to folks on the other side of the digital divide.

 

I do hope that the Metroparks will get some entrance locations into the trip planner. They are one of our greatest assets. When the Towpath Trail is finished to the lake, the north south thoroughfare will make the parks much more accessible to city dwellers via RTA and bike.

 

You have to give kudos to Mayor Brewer in East Cleveland for mentioning the Windemere Rapid Stop and noting how many riders live there. What a forward thinking guy to note that among the strengths of his city. “East Cleveland is a city that has the best public transportation and transportation hubs in Northeast Ohio with its access to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) and five to 15 minute access to Interstates 90, 71, 77 and 271.” Other suburbs haven’t caught up yet to the transit gig.

 

You’re doing a great job. I think that Ideastream needs to have you on regularly. WVIZ should be next so we can see the funding charts and graphs and the trip planner in action."

 

Email to arange a time to chat about rta. Like Portland, like trimet -- that's the dream!

 

Incremental improvements to RTA

Usually when we talk about transportation it is about the big things, like high speed rail and the ferry to Canada, when there are so many good little things we can do to make a difference.

 

You bring up many good ideas, and it sounds like RTA is receptive to ideas. So a group of people - community users - should get together and brainstorm on ways to make RTA better in little ways.

 

I'll suggest running the trains past 2 on weekends - I've had to take cabs home twice because I stayed out too close to close.

 

I'll also join in any further planning on any of this, especially regarding use of technology. 

MEGABus

  Just arrived in Toledo from downtown Cleveland on the Megabus and I have to say, I am quite impressed.  I was a bit worried when a family got on, fully expecting to have my seat kicked the whole way, but my fears were unwarranted.  The family of 7 strangely wholesome and beautiful kids were perfect angels the whole way.  The entire family is making its way to Chicago for a cheerleading competition and, because Mom knew how to play her cards with promotion codes, the family's entire round trip fare is $3.50.  So, what does it take for people to get on the bus....?  My only complaint would be--why does the bus pick up in the wasteland of Toledo's surburbia?

LAURA, PLEASE CONTINUE TO REPORT FROM THE ROAD

Your eyes are seeing for all of us.  We need to get you a silly digital camera.  You are Cleveland's reporter. Please give us a full report!  We are all with you...

Thanks for the Mega bus story and have a good time!

best,
jeff

Offline tomorrow

  I wish--photos do tell great stories.  Sadly, I feel too self-conscious pointing a camera, but I will try and record the experience outside Cleveland.   

Like many people, online has become my way of recording thoughts out loud.  My poor sister will have to live with my rants for now.