The Addressable, Queryable Bus Stop?

Sometimes as I’m browsing through the too many RSS feeds I subscribe to, I’m struck by an interesting intersection between two items from different sources.

That happened this weekend when I noted this comment (from regular commenter Dave H) on the open thread:

I’m not sure if anyone here is familiar with QR Codes, but I was wondering about the idea about posting them at TriMet stops as Smart Phone use increases.

The iPhone, Android, Symbian and Palm platforms all support it with free applications (Android has native compatibility, as far as I know), so I’m wondering is this maybe a way to directly link a user to Transit Tracker information for the stop they’re at?

It’s an open and free to use standard, and it would make things really easy for users if all you have to do is aim your phone at a Transit Tracker QR Code to figure out when the next bus shows up it seems like an easy way to gain some choice riders.

If we can be bothered to post route info at every stop, is this maybe an easy way to help make the Smart Phone more transit integrated? I’m sure with GPS you can do similar things for finding next trips, but it seems like a way to move Transit Tracker from display boards to the pocket at a minimal cost.

This struck me as interesting, because it could probably be easily accomplished as a community project – it would just take a good mail merge program to produce labels with QR codes from TriMet’s GTFS files.

But could we do something beyond just Transit Tracker with it?

Then I came across this article (via @caseorganic) on the “City as Software” concept. It suggests that real objects in the urban environment should be “addressable and queryable”.

QR codes would clearly provide one convenient form of addressability. But what about “queryability”. What would we want to query from a transit stop beyond next arrivals?


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