Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Google Transit trip planning in UK, Switzerland and Italy

Google announced the launch of Google Transit trip planner in Europe. Now you can plan your entire journey using public transportation. So far Google has information for the following places and transport companies:

Read more1 - Traveline South East, UK
"The UK's No 1 website for impartial information on planning your journey, by bus, coach or train... or any combination of the three!"
Google Transit can plan trips on the following agencies in this area: Traveline Southeast, including national data for long-distance coach services.

2 - SBB, Switzerland (train, ferries and long distance bus coverage)

3 - VBZ, Zurich, Switzerland

4 - Turin, Italy (Gruppo Torinese Trasporti)

5 - Florence, Italy
(ATAF&Linea, AMV, ACV)

You can try it yourself: type your start and end address in the "get directions" boxes. The default results are driving directions, but in the areas that Google has transit routing coverage, you can simply click on the "Take Public Transit" link.

Google believes this is an important step in encouraging people to use public transit. Google is hoping folks will decide to leave the car at home if they can easily discover a transit stop next to a business as they're searching for it, or if they realise it's easy to take a train as they plot their journey from point A to point B. Google is always looking to improve the coverage and work with more partners and they will keep you posted as more places and transport companies are added.

How to provide transit data to Google Transit Trip Planner

Recently we made a plan for a trip across the Europe, Lisbon - Helsinki. The aim was to see which of the schedules of the transit agencies might be integrated to increase the Google database, giving to the users a chance to check which would be the cheapest, probably fastest and most environmentally friendliest trip.

Lisbon – Helsinki trip plan
Start: Rotunda da Expo 98; Lisbon, Portugal
End: Mannerheimintie ; Helsinki, Finland
Travel: 4,069 km – about 1 day 20 hours (by car)

Transporlis is a multimodal information system of the metropolitan area of Lisbon.
It is a system that integrates the main transport operators of the metropolitan area of Lisbon, and that allows to optimize the use of their transports in function of the schedules of each company. It also integrates the flight schedules of the airport of Lisbon.

YTV door-to-door Journey Planner gives you advice on the best public transport connection to your destination within the Helsinki region.
The principal duties of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV) comprise transport system planning, regional public transport provision, waste management and air quality management for its four member municipalities (Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa).

We can say that the world integration of the public transit schedules (in its different transport modes) will surely be a great challenge . Once achieved, this previous example would be highly simplified, improving the schedule-based service. IT and modern real-time logistics are crucial keys for the design of future public transport.

So, to increase the integration it's necessary that the agencies have a public transportation data for their cities, and get it included in the Google Transit Trip Planner. The Google Transit Feed Specification describes how to provide transit data in a format that Google Transit Trip Planner can use, i.e. how a public agency that oversees public transportation can submit a feed to Google Transit Trip Planner.


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