Erstwhile Muse

Feb 7, 2007

An actual use for pervasive (municipal) WiFi...

other than allowing self-important tech-twits email access.

I'm not sure how long this has been online, but it's a very cool thing that everyone that lives in Columbus should know about.

Lee and I were discussing the other day various aspects of the public transportation system in this town, specifically the COTA buses and the hardware on board. Being the geeks that we are, we of course had to talk about the on-board GPS system that all of the buses are equipped with, and how nice it would be to be able to tap into that (as well as some fanciful speculation on my part about on-board public wi-fi).

Well, lucky for all of us, someone at COTA felt the same way:

Want to know where all the buses are on your route right now? Well you can find out using COTA's Real Time bus finder. Whenever you see the words "Real Time" on our web site just click on it. You'll be sent to a screen that provides you with an interactive map. On this map you will see your route and the location of each bus on that route.
Now, admittedly this is of limited initial use, as most people will be accessing it via their home computer or laptop at a location other than a bus stop. I found it quite handy today though, where due to weather conditions I am not entirely willing to trust the normal schedule. Even still, it's actually a useful enough feature that I have some impetus into finding myself a phone or somesuch device that will allow me internet access wherever I might be, even if it's only for as long as it would take to check on a specific bus.

Ideally it would be nice if they could add this data into their automated phone system, giving you the option of checking routes either by scheduled time or RealTime position (in relation to numbered stops), as not everyone will have the wherewithal nor inclination to browse the internet for such information on a postage stamp sized screen, but as I have no practical experience programming automated telephone such as this I have no idea how difficult that may be.


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