Transit Information Design Innovation

After I completed my long post about the need for high quality maps and timetables for public bus systems last October, I wasn’t optimistic it would inspire much real-world improvements. It the post I argued transit agencies should explore using stem and leaf timetables to supplement traditional timetables, something advocated by design guru Edward Tufte. Therefore I was surprised to hear a consulting company had actually implemented an online, interactive stem and leaf timetable on the website of a California bus system.

Redwood Transit System Stop times at 11th & N Streets, Fortuna

Noting that “most regular bus commuters predominately use two stops,” the company Transit Information Solutions implemented a system that lets riders look up all the times a bus stops at any two stations for their client, Redwood Transit Systems. The individual times link to a timetable showing the arrival times. The individual station pages even display the stop location on an interactive Google Map. (Unfortunately, the route maps are not linked to the stop information pages.)

While such innovations should not replace more familiar full timetables, their interactive system seems intuitive and user-friendly. It would be interesting to hear what type of feedback RTS receives from their riders.

Author: Rob Goodspeed