CTA teams with Google Transit for map-based trip planner
The CTA has *finally* announced its partnership with Google to provide bus and train planner information at Google Transit (Chicago specific link here). You can also access it here for a video tutorial.
The CTA put on its best Google face for the press conference. A Tribune story about the announcement of the CTA/Google partnership reports: "The announcement was made in a CTA meeting room that was transformed into a sound stage, complete with loud, pulsating music, pyramids of large colored cubes in Google's color schemes, futuristic ergodynamic chairs and a large buffet table."
The CTA's home page has substituted Google's transit trip planner for the RTA's inferior Trip Planner. But the CTA does include a link, stating: "For regional trip planning, please use RTA Trip Planner." That's because the RTA decided not to participate in Google Transit. Not smart.
The RTA's Trip Planner does have a couple of features that Google lacks, such as options that allow you to pick a bus-only trip, and to pick how far you want to walk. But the familiar Google interface and the map makes Google a powerful planner.
Here is the CTA's press release about the partnership. And the CTA knows this is such a big deal that it trotted out Mayor Daley to participate.
A Chicago link showed up on Google Transit for at least a day early this year, but it was removed quickly. Maybe it was just a test that somehow went live. But we're glad to see it back permanently on Google Transit.
Chicago Transit Developers Google Group: Meanwhile, Kevin Z. has created a Chicago Transit Developers Google Group for developers interested in building services with Bus Tracker data. Open sharing of this kind of information will make it "possible to build a variety of third-party apps and services that would make Bus Tracker even more useful," KevinZ writes in a Tattler comment. "Imagine things like widgets for Mac OS X or Windows and customized interfaces for the iPhone, for example. Like the new partnership with Google Maps, all of this can be done at zero cost to the CTA."
Excellent! Go for it guys!