Jason Elliot Benda (26376) wrote,
Jason Elliot Benda

I says to the MTD, I says:

I wanted to suggest a potential improvement to the way schedule information is accessed on your website, a sort of integration of the Maps/Schedules page and the Trip Planner.

As it is right now, the Trip Planner is a one-shot deal, whereas the Maps/Schedules page gives a very nice table of the schedule information. The advantage of the Trip Planner is to be able to use more than just timepoints as stops, but the Maps/Schedules page has the advantage of showing the entire day.

I live in Dobbins Downs, close to the Campbell/Queensway timepoint on the 3 Lavender route, and I work at Parkland College, a timepoint on the 7 Grey or 9 Brown routes. It is easy for me to look up the entire day's scheduled departures from home and arrivals at work, but what I can't look up easily is the transfers. I spent a good deal of time at the beginning of the semester (when the new schedule book was out) checking trip-by-trip in the Trip Planner to find out when each Lavender bus would reach Paula/Garden Hills and Bradley/Harris. The data is there, because the Trip Planner can pull it, but the Trip Planner can only return one routing at at time.

http://26376.livejournal.com/1171727.html is a blog post I made in early September showing the tables I came up with for all the best options to/from work. There's a link there to the Excel book I made from the Trip Planner data.

What I would like to see is the MTD's web site have the ability to produce a custom schedule page, like the Maps/Schedule tables that currently exist but adding a column (or two columns, in case one isn't boarding or alighting at a timepoint) for a custom stop location along the route. That way I could read in one query to the MTD when each run of the 3S Lavender will stop at my potential transfer points, instead of having to take an hour (and repeated queries to the Trip Planner) each direction to compile the data myself. An even more useful improvement would be to be able to do what I did by hand, combining routes and looking for the optimum transfer; this last idea, however, I think would be prohibitive to implement.

The Trip Planner as it stands is great for people who are going to ride the bus once, or for people who plan on riding repeatedly but always at the same times every day. For me as a part-time instructor at Parkland, I find myself coming and going at various times all week long (including coming home after evening classes when the MTD isn't an option). It would seem to me to not be that great a programming challenge to interpolate an additional stop all day long, especially since the Trip Planner will already do that interpolation, one trip at a time.
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