On Apr.15, Davis joined 51 other cities and regions worldwide using Google Transit to aid in the promulgation of public transportation.
The move to Google Transit was initiated by Unitrans earlier this year. A schedule was submitted to Google through the Sacramento Regional Transit Authorityin March to include the city of Davis in the free program.
“It made sense for us to create [Google Transit],” said Elaine Filadelfo, global communications and public affairs representative for Google. “Google Transit is the logical extension of Google Maps – it brings a greater range of options to Google users.“
Google Transit is a search engine allowing users to enter origin and destination coordinates to obtain a public transportation travel route. According the website, it helps users to “easily access public transit schedules, routes and plan trips using their local public transportation options.“
The cost of providing the necessary information to Google was covered by a regional transit coordination program grant funded byt he Sacramento Area Council of Governments,said Unitrans assistant general manager Anthony Palmere.
“We wanted to join the program when it came out,“ Palmere said. “But we didn’t have the resources to put the format together that Google needed for the search engine.“
Unitrans has not yet recorded any increase in traffic or extra attention as a result of the transition,Palmere said.
“We’re still waiting for the addition to sink in a little,” he said. “[Google Transit] is still pretty recent,but we’re definitely going to keep it.“
Google Transit’s international market currently provides service for all ofJapan andSwitzerland but has yet to make a presence in South America and Africa.
“Right now,we’re working on bringing more and more agencies into coverage in as many areas as possible,” Filadelfo said. “In the past weeks, we’ve added15regions to our service area,six the dayDavis joined and nine more onEarth Day.“
Both Filadelfo and Palmere addressed the environmentally friendly aspect of the program,which promotes mass transit and reduced methane gas emissions.
“A lot of people are very excited when it launched in their regions and we’ve had a lot of support,” Filadelfo said. “One of the reasons people like it is because of its good environmentalpossibilities.“
The project’s test run began in2005with the Portland Trimet public transportation system.Today,Google Transit operates in11cities inCalifornia,and40cities andregions nationwide,including the entire state ofRhode Island.
Currently missing from the site is directions for the walking portions of journeys.Only distances are provided.
People can figure out this by using the map,Filadelfosaid.
“It didn’t cost anything,and it broadens the appeal of our service,” Palmeresaid. “It provides an interesting alternative and makes Unitrans more accessible to peoplenot accustomed tousing other interfaces.“
Google Transit can be found atgoogle.com/transitor through the Unitrans homepage at unitrans.ucdavis.edu.
CHARLES HINRIKSSON can be reached at email@example.com.XXX