Palm Bus Schedule

I'm building a Palm application which will store and display full transit schedules on a handheld device. Email me if you'd like to get involved when I'm ready for help testing it.

Over the last few years schedule information for nearly all transit agencies has become available online. Yet the moment of greatest need for a transit schedule -- standing on a street corner, rushing out of the house, or running to a bus stop -- is also the moment in which viewing one online is least convenient. Knowing that the next bus/train/subway is 1 minute away versus 20 minutes out is crucial in making an correct drive vs. walk vs. wait for transit vs. hail a cab decision.

Notice that:

  • Paper schedules are unwieldy for all but the smallest transportation networks.

  • Real-time arrival information systems are great but their full deployment will take decades and they don't cover the case when one is not yet at a particular transit station or stop. (e.g., the "can I walk or should I run?" question)

  • Wireless connectivity is expensive and handheld browsers don't display the wide, long pages typical of transit schedules well. Unfortunately no major improvement in handheld browser technology is likely, and wireless data is likely to remain expensive in most locations.

  • Meanwhile, modern handlheld capacities are more than adequate to store a few cities complete bus and train schedules.

In a few cases (BART and Caltrain) scheduling information is available for handheld platforms already. What I'm building is generic software to do this for any agency, even those with hundreds of routes. Personally I'd like to carry information for at least 5 agencies (BART, Caltrain, MUNI, SamTrans, VTA) with me at all times. Fortunately, with modern handhelds and the software I'm building it's really not that difficult. Contact me if you'd like to help test the software.

jasonc.com

Please note that most of this site was last updated in 2003.

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  File /docs/palmbus/index.mason, updated 21 April 2003