Buzzer logo

TransLink news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories.

Friday fun poll: how do you want your real-time information on the new mobile site?

Friday fun poll: how do you want your real-time information on the new mobile site?

As promised, here’s the Friday fun poll about the new mobile site! Many of you have noticed and commented about the recent changes to the existing mobile site, and I’ve been passing on your questions and concerns to the team working on the new mobile website platform. The team tells me that they’re working hard to get the new mobile site up as soon as possible since they know the platform in its current state (i.e. being redirected to our Trip Planner site) isn’t ideal.

Building on the your input from our previous poll on the new mobile site, including optimizing performance, saving favourites and including enhanced maps, we’d like to know how you would like to get your information on the new platform.

The new mobile site will incorporate GPS technology. This will include GPS information from our fleet and GPS information from user’s smart phones. This new redesign will be optimized for mobile devices such as the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices. It will also be available in a generic mobile and desktop version.

Rolling out in stages, will hope this technology will eventually be able to tell transit users the actual location of each bus and approximately how long it will take to get to where they are by relaying information from each bus back to transit users via their mobile devices. This is a huge project, so new features will be rolled out incrementally in select areas of the system before they go system-wide. In the first phase of this project, users will be given bus locations via a map. Later on, functionality like predicted arrival times by stop will be added to the map and in text-based form.

The mobile team has been looking at mobile sites of other systems around the world to see what we can learn and apply to the design of our new mobile site. At the moment, the team has come up with three distinct ways users can use the future TransLink mobile site to get real-time information. I thought I’d use the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York City) mobile site as an example of possible options for the TransLink site since we haven’t decided on any one design yet and hope users like yourself can help in the design process through this poll. So here is how the current design of the new mobile site might work as far as how users can use the tools to get around.

Real-time information by bus stop

The idea here is if users know the stop, they can find out which buses stop there. The map would show all the stops within a radius of your stop. The map below from the MTA website illustrates the idea with a green star.

Metropolitan Transporation Authority bus stop map
A screen capture of how the MTA mobile website shows which buses service which bus stops.

Real-time information by route

Route Finder for Metropolitan Transportation Authority's website
The green flag would indicate where you are, the orange dots show which stops are on the route you want to take.

For the route option, the user knows the bus or route they want to take, and site maps shows which stops are closest to them. A map like this would show the route that users specified relative to their location (indicated by the green flag we added).

Real-time information by user location

Similar in result to the route option, the mobile team is also looking at providing a separate personal location option. With GPS locating a user on a map, the user could then find the transit options that are around them. The map would show users (identified by the added purple flag) where they are amongst all the bus stops  and routes within a certain radius.

Locating yourself on a transit map using the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's website as a basis
Find out where you are and the best transit options available to you!

So now that we know the possible trip planning options of the new mobile and desktop site, we’d like you to help us figure out if these are the right options and how to display them.

Is searching for transit options by personal location of use to you?

  • Yes (92%, 168 Votes)
  • No (8%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 182

Because the GPS on buses will be rolled out incrementally, we need a way to show that the bus arrival times are either scheduled or real time.

How would you prefer to see scheduled times as compared to actual times?

  • Colours are the way to go (74%, 133 Votes)
  • A symbol (an * for example) is the way to go (26%, 47 Votes)

Total Voters: 180

How often would you like the location of buses to be updated (remembering that there is a trade off between frequency and performance)

  • Once every minute is best (57%, 104 Votes)
  • Once every couple of minutes is fine (43%, 80 Votes)

Total Voters: 184

I’ll tally up the results once the poll closes in two weeks’ time. This is by no means the only feedback you can provide on the future or existing mobile site. If there are comments that are not addressed in this post or poll, please do leave them below. This process is for making sure that we get this new mobile site right. I, too, will be using this new site, so I have a vested interested in it as well. I look forward to the results and feedback. Happy polling, everyone!