Extreme transit makeover: Schedules 2.0 *

Everybody know that the Web has given us all access to personalized information: directions, book recommendations, news. Transit agencies have started taking advantage of that with trip planners and schedule alerts. And transit (at least somewhat) easier to use.

But technology has changed paper, too. Once, printing meant large production runs. Now, it’s possible to print things one at a time. But transit still works in a world where documents — bus schedules, system maps, and brochures — are printed in large, one-size-fits-all, runs.

Consider an office building: several hundred people, all of whom need to get to work and get home every day. They should know what their transit options are. But a system map posted in the lobby won’t do the trick: it shows too much information, and that’s intimidating. But a custom map (click for pdf), showing just the routes that stop nearby, would.

Transit Poster

The technology is not difficult. The time involved is not prohibitive. And, once the map exists, it’s easy to convert for posting on a web site, printing in an employee manual, and otherwise making it available to people whom it would help. It would be entirely possible to put one of these in every large office building lobby, in every hospital and in every university in Houston.

It’s not good enough to simply provide transit. One has to make people aware it exists. And transit agencies ought to be using every tool they can to do that.

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