Tag Archives | transit

Real Time Transit Info in Japan

In the last few days we’ve heard quite a bit about TriMet’s failures during the 12/18-19 insta- winter storm. The Max breakdowns were one thing, but there were also a number of complaints about misleading internet tracking information ( “there was no notice of anything out of the ordinary with her route….She waited and waited at the stop, but even though multiple buses came in the other direction, no bus ever arrived. She had to walk home”) or just no information posted at all. In light of that, thought I would write a quick note about train/bus info promulgation as I saw it in Japan.

Japan Real Time Arrival Display

Rail real time arrival display – © 2005 Rick Browning – all rights reservered.

Japan Real Time Arrival Display

Real time arrival for multiple bus lines – © 2005 Rick Browning – all rights reservered.

In the last few days we’ve heard quite a bit about TriMet’s failures during the 12/18-19 insta- winter storm. The Max breakdowns were one thing, but there were also a number of complaints about misleading internet tracking information ( “there was no notice of anything out of the ordinary with her route….She waited and waited at the stop, but even though multiple buses came in the other direction, no bus ever arrived. She had to walk home”) or just no information posted at all. In light of that, thought I would write a quick note about train/bus info promulgation as I saw it in Japan.

One of these days soon I really will start to unleash the vast trove of photos and observations from my 7 weeks in over there this summer/fall.

One series of photos and notes has to do with bus/train signage. It is dynamic and accurate, and no – you don’t log on w/yr computer at home. It is right there. Where you are standing and waiting. At the bus stop or the train station – telling you w/text and graphic icon displays exactly how many minutes for the next bus or train. If you are already on the bus or train – it is telling you while you sit in your seat how many minutes to the next stop, how many stops to the end of the line, what order they are in, the amount of time between every stop (real time, not schedule time), what doors to use to get on and off… and once in awhile – an advertisement with women in bikinis… (OK, just faithfully reporting my observations, not endorsing, but it does command at least male attention a little more than icons of train cars – video advertising also provides revenue to the transit agency; is there something wrong with this?).

I attach a few photos. One shows a video screen aboard a train similar to Max (not long distance). The second shows a bus stop with multiple line dynamic electrionic kiosk. These are not displaying static schedule info, but actual real time, variable conditions. My message – if they can do it, we can too. We in the USA are like in the transit stone age, even in Portland. But we don’t have to be. I hear TriMet is working on it.

Let’s all wish them luck.