Translink Buzzer Blog

Links and tidbits for Fri Nov. 12

I support alternative transportation! And yes, that extends to brooms :) Taken by donnamatrix and used with permission!

Just a couple of tidbits and links rounded up about transportation in the past week!

If you have any items to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at thebuzzer@translink.ca! (Seriously: good photos. These posts need them. Send them along!)


15 Comments

  • By Allan K, November 14, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

    The free transit data given by other transit agencies and shown used here makes me want to ask… does TransLink have any plans on trying to do that as well? ^^; I can just imagine… homemade LED next bus stop displays popping up at storefronts. =P Or maybe I’ll even just build one for my personal use, showing the buses and where they are in relation to the four stops around my house. =)

  • By JC, November 15, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

    hmm… looking at that photo… is the Harry Potter sport of Quidditch coming to Vancouver? Yes it’s a “real” sport now… here’s the World Cup website. :O

    http://www.internationalquidditch.org/

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 16, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    Allan: We do offer schedule and stop data for developers to use—check them out here: http://www.translink.ca/en/Schedules-and-Maps/Developer-Resources.aspx

  • By Allan K, November 16, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

    I do acknowledge that TranLink has provided schedule and stop data free of charge on their website, but there are other systems that also provide free GPS live-tracking data as well, like the one used in the Portland transit appliance above. Similar free GPS feeds are also permitted in Boston and San Francisco if I recall, and there was an article in Boston about a shopkeeper who made their own LED sign showing the next buses at the nearest stops for customers’ convenience. Does TransLink have any plans in the future to do that, or are there limitations to bandwidth or tracking that I might not be aware of? Thanks.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 17, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    Allan: Yes, we definitely have plans to get the real-time data out! It’s currently being worked on by our IT dept and there’s just a lot of work involved in the project, especially to ensure reliability of the data being sent out. I’m not sure of the exact time estimate but sadly it appears to be long—maybe a year or more?

  • By Jacob, November 17, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    About Vancouver stop spacing, currently, the bus stops range from 50 meters to about 200 meters- Most stops are 150 meters. Jarrett Walker recommends that stops are about 400 meters apart. Does Translink have any plan to increase the space between stops?

  • By ;-), November 17, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

    I think the Blines already have 400 meters plus. As the average population age continues to increase, many will welcome the shorter walks to the bus stops. Is there a route or location where you would like to see 400 meter spacing?

  • By ;-), November 17, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

    With regards to real-time data…. can we not just publish the information from the Main Street Art project ( http://buzzer.translink.ca/index.php/2009/08/what-are-those-weird-poles-at-the-main-street-bus-stops/ ) onto the Translink website?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 18, 2010 @ 10:35 am

    Jacob: The stop spacing in the region is determined in conjunction with the municipalities, and we follow TransLink’s Transit Service Guidelines (found on the Transportation Planning page) to determine exactly how far stops should be apart. Differing services have differing requirements, and page 7 of the Transit Service Guidelines has the exact numbers, which are:

    STOP SPACING SHOULD BE AT LEAST:
    BUS 250 metres (both near & farside stops permitted at major transfer points)
    EXPRESS COACH 250 metres (in local service area)
    B-LINE 500 metres to 1,500 metres average spacing on route
    COMMUNITY SHUTTLE Flexible to serve local conditions

  • By Allan K, November 18, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    I’m assuming that relaying GPS data for a few lines is fine, like how it is used on Highway 99 at Steveston and on Main Street. However, there might be larger loads placed on servers if the data for hundreds of routes had to be released simultaneously.
    This does bring up another question though: what happened to most of the LED screens on the Main Street stops? Many of them have disappeared… even at major intersections… only the power boxes and/or cables remain. I was hoping they’d stay around longer, especially at places where the #3 bus crosses other bus routes.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 18, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

    Allan: The displays aren’t there? I’ll ask about it—the displays are intended to stay up. I think they may be just getting fixed.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 18, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    Allan: here’s the answer from the Main Street showcase project staff.

    Some of the signs were defective and were sent back to the manufacturer for replacement. The others were removed in order to change the wiring connected to the signs to a plug-in type system so that in the future an electrician will not be needed to remove or reconnect the signs. All of the signs will eventually be returned to the street.

    Also, although the signs work in most situations, they have problems recognizing buses that are ahead of schedule. The manufacturer has supplied a software patch to fix this problem and it will be implemented as the signs are returned to the street.

  • By Paul C, Vancouver, November 23, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

    The problem with stop spacing has to do with how far you have to travel on a route.

    Everyone would love to get on at a stop and have the bus go non stop to the stop they want to get off at. That would be perfect for each individual. But of course others have to get and off at stops in between where we want to get on and off.

    So having a small stop spacing helps people with them walking less of a distance. But it slows down the people who are already on the bus.

    Whats need in Vancouver is more limited stop routes. That would run with routes that have local stops. A good example is Broadway with the 99 and the 9. 41st Ave has it during peak with the 43 and 41. Each bus route helps the other. One is designed to move people quicker by not having to stop at every stop. The other is meant to deal with more shorter distance travelling.

    Don’t get rid of stops to make the average distance greater. Just implement a new route with limited stop service.

    Of course the funds to operate this don’t exist right now. :)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 10, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    ;-): About your question on the Main St display signs. Here’s what I’m told:

    The system’s not set up to do this right now and while the project team thinks that it’s technically possible it would require some further investigation into set-up and maintenance costs and other issues. This isn’t in the current project budget but it could be looked into in the future.

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