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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Google Maps Portugal and Google Transit Lisboa

Yesterday, Google Portugal announced two services in the Portuguese language: Google Maps and Google Transit for Lisbon (Lisboa). After Vienna, the Portuguese capital is the second European city to receive this service. Now, it’s possible to get Google information of how to travel in Lisbon on public transport, a service provided by Google Transit.

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We are satisfied with these news, because one year ago Google announced the launch of Google Transit trip planner in Europe, having only information for some places and transport companies. Nowadays, over 70 agencies in 10 countries make their information available in Google Maps.

When the project was only available in some selected cities, not located in Europe, we published a simple plan for a trip across Europe, between Lisbon and Helsinki, to observe which of the transit agencies’ schedules might be integrated to increase the Google database. This year, Google Transit was developed in partnership with Metro and Carris, companies where is available all the information relevant to public transport in Lisbon, such as the location, travel time and ticket prices.

To plan a trip, you can simply click on the "Get directions " link. Then, it’s only necessary typing the start and end address in the "Get directions" boxes to get the results.

Google believes this is an important step in encouraging people to use public transit. The company hopes that 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.

In a yesterday press conference, Inês Gonçalves, Google Portugal responsible of marketing, said:

"It’s obvious that we want more cities, now it depends on the partners"
"Google Maps is not only put a map online, it’s to get a location where the language is understood, and with local content."

As we notice, on November 2007, Google established in Lisbon to concentrate on online publicity, trying to attract investments from Portuguese companies.

Yesterday, Paulo Barreto, chief executive of Google Portugal, said that "since a year ago that we operate directly in Portugal, our priority has been to adapt products to Portuguese."

Companies can also advertise for free on Google Maps through a Local Business Center, a service now available in beta Google Maps PT or in Google Maps for Mobile. In addition, there is also accessible the Google Maps API that will help developers, webmasters and designers to incorporate the functionality of Google Maps on their websites.

The world integration of the public transit schedules (in different transport modes) will surely be a great challenge to improving the schedule-based service. Indeed, IT and modern real-time logistics are crucial keys for the design of the future public transport.

So, to increase the integration of their schedule-based services, the agencies should have a public transportation data for their cities, and get it included in the Google Transit trip planner. The Google Transit Partner Program describes how to share agencies information on Google Maps. For participating the agencies should provide a transportation service that is open the the public, and operates with fixed schedules and routes.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live near Paris and suppose it was smart of Google to start with small cities. I look forward to seeing this in the Paris area, it is an ever-painful challenge to know the status of the Paris transport.

The last job interview I had is a fine example. I checked online and the transport seemed fine. When I got to the station there was a sign about the impossibility to return hone because of the "social action" going on. A social action is a strike, and it only hit my line.