Transit Board

This post is part of a series documenting the transit tools offered by Portland Transport.

Transit Board™ is a web browser interface designed to be used in a fixed location, perhaps as a kiosk or as an intranet page for a company office, allowing users to see multiple transit lines departing from a particular place or general vicinity.

One TMA has already implemented it.

There are two ways to set up a Transit Board. One requires help from the admins at Portland Transport, the other can be done on a do-it-yourself basis.

The first model requires defining something we call a ‘choice set’, which is a list of transit stops and specific lines that serve them. If you’d like to do this, send e-mail to and we’ll work with you. With the custom approach we can tailor colors and create special messages as well.

The do-it-yourself form just requires a URL with a list of stops. Here’s an example:

This particular board is designed for a hypothetical kiosk in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse Square, so it uses the MAX stops on either side of the square. You could add in as many stop= sets into the URL as you want, separating them with ampersands.

You can get stop ids by looking on bus stops, or by using TriMet’s Transit Tracker and noting the URL of the tracking page, looking for the locationID parameter.

We’ll eventually have a tool that will let you click your way through setup of these, but not quite yet – hey, we’re only volunteers.

The URL above works great as standalone page, but you can also put it inside another web page with an IFRAME tag, like so:

<iframe src=”″ frameborder=0 width=600 height=950>Frame could not be displayed</iframe>

[TIP: Play with the height= attribute of the IFRAME to balance extra white space against scroll bars depending on how many rows show up.]

Which would yield this…

And remember, if you want custom colors, font, bus lines, etc.; let us know, we can customize a Transit Board for you. We also now have a custom version that will work in a pop-up window!

Transit Board is a service and trademark of Portland Transport. Route and arrival data provided by permission of TriMet.

5 responses to “Transit Board”

  1. That is really cool. And I thought that before I saw it scroll!

    One suggestion. Instead of having you customize the colors/styles, why not just let anybody do it by applying their own CSS stylesheet?

  2. I guess I was referring more to the IFRAME method of displaying the tool. But now that I think about it, I’ve never tried to apply a style to an IFRAME from the parent page, not sure if browser security will allow that to happen. Will have to look into that later.

    As far as the page that is generated directly from your site, you could make a nice form that allows people to specify attributes for all the elements. Then, you could use the query string to send all the specifications and present the custom URL to the client.

  3. I’m thinking that to make this really easy for users we need a better interface to set up the choice sets – pick stops off a map, colors off a palette, etc.

    Not sure interim measures short of that have much payback over just having them ask us for help.

  4. I’ve had a link to this for a couple of stops near where I currently live after coming across the “Transit Boards for all” thread a while back. I think this is really cool and if I either had an always-on connection (I don’t) (or a business with a window next to a bus route), I’d set one up as a courtesy to family (or the general masses if I had that streetside window).

    I really wish displays like this could’ve been put up on the temporary transit mall stops – I really miss the City Hall stop on Madison St. that had an official TriMet display in the shelter (even the ancient TV system on 5th and 6th that simply gave schedule times was useful despite its limitations). They could’ve used MetroFi or Personal Telco for the internet connection, a solar panel or something to help with electricity, and have the displays sponsored by someone to pay for the general upkeep.

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