Archive | Transit Tools

ArrivalStar Patent on the Ropes?

A company called ArrivalStar has been making a nice business of suing transit systems claiming rights over technology to display real-time arrivals.

In fact, ArrivalStar is the main reason that Portland Transport is organized as a 501(c)(3) – so that if our transit tools generated a legal challenge, we’d have a corporate wall to protect the developers (including yours truly).

But that era may be over. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has succeeded in limiting the scope of the patent, and the American Public Transit Association is suing to invalidate it.

A consummation devoutly to be wished.

$35 Transit Appliance?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how relatively easy it was to get our Transit Appliance software stack running on the Raspberry Pi.

I’m using the Raspian OS (a variant of Debian) and the Midori web browser (webkit based).

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised, since the ARM11-family processor and 512MB of RAM are substantially beefier than the Infocast/Chumby 8 that we’ve been running on successfully for some time.

I still need to acquire a compatible WiFi adapter and see how that does. But one true surprise is how nicely the single-board computer drives a display at 1080p (1920×1080) resolution. The Linux nettop we’ve been using for our flat screens tops out at 720p (1366×768)!

It will take more investigation to determine if we can really build some practical configurations around this. If so we’ll need a case and power supply, so the unit costs will be more than the $35 for the processor board, but could easily stay under $100…

Stay tuned.

Our Latest Transit Appliance…

Now to be found in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza hotel on NE Broadway.

This is the first time we’ve deployed in a hotel and also the first time we’ve used the iPad (and a commercially available kiosk stand for it) as the display platform!


This particular unit is displaying four MAX lines plus the Streetcar Loop, all within walking distance of the hotel.