Could Google Transit Become The Universal Trip Planner?

As the site adds more transit systems to its database, some hope that Google's transit route planner could become as useful as its car route mapping software.

"Google Transit may well become the world's best way to run a railroad.

Already tremendously useful to cities that provide the site with mass-transit routes, it now comes to the city of Chicago, which has one of the most elaborate mass transit systems in the U.S. Go to Google Maps. Type in a query for directions. If your results include a button for "Take Public Transit," Google Transit will spell out directions to the closest station or bus stop, including schedule information.

The power of this is subtle. One huge impediment to wider adaptation of public transportation is the convenience factor--especially, in not knowing how long you'll have to wait for the next damned train. When it's raining or five below zero, you'll drive your car. When you're squeezed for time, you'll take a cab, even if mass transit is faster. After all, it's not faster if you wind up standing on a subway platform for 20 minutes."

Full Story: Google Transit Gets Smarter and Smarter

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