CTS’s GPSes Installed

The $500,000 Charlottesville Transit System GPS installation is done: now you can track CTS buses’ locations online or at dozens of bus stops. At least, it’s possible in the abstract that they can be tracked online. I wouldn’t know, because the site requires Internet Explorer and some Adobe plugin. (Install a plugin? Really? Didn’t we already do 1998?) Like one in four UVa students, I have a Mac–there is no IE to suffer through. Want to check your iPhone/Treo/Blackberry to see if you can make the next bus? You’re out of luck. Work in an office that doesn’t allow installing software? No schedule checking for you.

The significant upside, of course, is the remaining 95% of the system. Now CTS can track, coordinate, and adjust bus schedules in real-time to meet traffic demands. And the little screens at the bus stops sound pretty great. I’ll just have to abandon my hope of putting together per-line location-triggered RSS feeds and e-mail alerts. Cue the tiny violin.

69 thoughts on “CTS’s GPSes Installed”

  1. What’s really frustrating is the code that they’re using is so specific. (Warning: Geek talking coming.) I’m using Safari 3.1, which has native SVG support. And I have debug mode enabled, so I can set it to masquerade as Windows MSIE 6.0. So, no problem–any SVG should render just fine. But, no–they’re actually sniffing for the Adobe SVG plugin, as opposed to simple SVG support.

    Any time that a site is so weak as to ostensibly require a specific browser should have “whatever, let me try anyway” option.

  2. Arrrrghgghghgh. I am also a geek and I share Waldo’s frustration. I use GNU/Linux and my browser has native SVG support too.

    But you know what’s even sillier? As far as I know, they’re requiring a plugin that Adobe has actually announced they’re going to discontinue.

    There’s just no reason for that. And given that it’s Charlottesville.org and therefore presumably taxpayer-funded, using proprietary, non-standard technology is just wrong.

  3. Wow, I had no idea it’d been EOLd. Here’s Adobe’s announcement. There’s just over eight months to go. This is like buying new deck chairs for the Titanic.

    FWIW, SVG is great. It’s vastly preferable to Flash. It’s great that this GPS system produces maps (I assume it would show a map, anyhow) in SVG. Their implementation, though, sucks.

  4. I was able to use IE and download the plug-in. Once you navigate on the map to a bus stop you are interested in, you can bookmark a shortcut that appears to give you the data about arrivals WITHOUT need for IE or the plug-in. For example, this is the bus stop near my office. I am able to view this in Firefox. While the critique above is appropriate, it is a work around if you regularly use a couple stops. Brian Wheeler

  5. That’s totally great–thanks so much, Brian. And it’s Ajax-based — I like it!

    What I’m picturing here is putting together a list of the URLs for each stop. And then getting the lat/long for each stop, and plotting that to a Google map, and just using an iFrame to inline the contents of each stop’s page. Maybe with a little intelligence, the icon for each stop could be modified to indicate how many minutes until a bus arrives there.

  6. I’ve started writing a GreaseMonkey script for this (since I use Firefox), but my current script is causing an error (“parseXML not defined”) in the SVG-manipulating code. I suspect that Firefox does not contain the necessary SVG support, or perhaps it uses a different API.

  7. I had fun with one of the little touchboxes at a stop yestserday. It told me the time for the next trolley and the next 7 bus, but told me to refer to schedule for the 4b. I thought it was pretty nifty.

  8. (Install a plugin? Really? Didn’t we already do 1998?)

    Oh, man. Every once in a while you’ve got some little bit of geek nostalgia that just slays me.

  9. I want to know if we’ll be able to get the lat/long data that this system is getting from the buses. If we could get real-time data…man oh man shazam, that’d be fun.

  10. The funny thing while this is nice and all is how many people riding the bus will have online access, and how many people use the bus to justify this expense? Are there not better things we could spend our $ on here?

  11. Hax0rd!!!

    I thought it was funny that the AJAX was calling the same URL as the page itself, until I remembered that .NET regularly makes use of the the distinction between POST and GET requests.

    So, I rigged a test form that passes the 2 parameters that the back-end needs (PlatformTag and CheckCache), as hidden fields via POST and… Voila! The .aspx page returns only the core markup, for me to do with as I please.

    Check it: Here (Click the “Test” button)

    Note that the “CheckCache” parameter is required or else the interface returns the default view. It wants the current time and date for its value, but in this test situation that value is static. The result markup has a “Created” attribute (non-standard) in the bounding div tag, and that value seems to always be current. So I guess it doesn’t matter my CheckCache is a fixed value, just that it’s there.

    Anyway, using a form like this I can rig a simple interface to fit my cellphone’s massive 176x220px display.

  12. The funny thing while this is nice and all is how many people riding the bus will have online access, and how many people use the bus to justify this expense? Are there not better things we could spend our $ on here?

    There are two essential points that perhaps you’re missing. First, this data has to be available over to the display LCDs at the bus stops anyway, so it’d be a little goofy not to go ahead and make it available to the general public via the internet. Second, a significant goal here is to convince people to ride the bus who currently do not. That is, it’s not a service for existing bus riders as much as it’s an incentive to get drivers to start taking the bus.

    In light of those two elements, I think that this makes a great deal of sense.

  13. Sure I get those points Waldo. But I think this will encourage bus riding like recycling for free encourages less waste, and free bikes encourages kids to ride and get exercise. I do like the idea, but we shall see if it does what it intends. Most of the people using the bus system will not know care either way I bet.

  14. Imadeit: you’re dead wrong. I use the bus, and I sometimes choose to not take it when I don’t know when it will arrive. The paper schedule is not always dependable. [Oddly, someone mentioned above that one of the least schedule-accurate routes, 4B, doesn’t work on the touchscreens.]

    Being able to go to a bus stop and reliably know whether the bus will be here in 8 minutes or 45 minutes is a TREMENDOUS help to me. It would be different if all our bus routes stopped at every stop every 10 minutes like in big cities. But we have routes that have once-an-hour schedules. Meaning that if the driver’s watch is 4 minutes faster than mine, I may have missed my only chance to get to class or work on time. Problem is, I won’t know that until I’ve stood there for 10-15 minutes, thinking that it’s late again. Then when I realize I’ve missed it, I have to scramble for alternative transport.

  15. I’m going to go out on a limb here and propose that providing commuters with real-time information was not CTS’ only concern. It might not even have been their primary concern. I can think of fleet management for instance being facilitated by knowing where exactly all your buses are. So if you need to do real-time adjustments you can do them quickly and efficiently.

    It also facilitates long term development of the network. With real-time information about bus locations, CTS knows exactly where the delays are in the system, and can better decide how to improve the system.

    And I’m sure there are other benefits I’m not thinking about.

  16. I agree a reason people may shy away from the bus is because they don’t know when the bus is coming. But wouldn’t a much cheaper alternative than a system to tell you how late the buses are be to make the buses run on time? Instill some discipline in the system. Get drivers that might give a crap. Yes, traffic varies blah blah blah… Look, if a city the size of Tokyo can figure out how to run their buses and trains dead-nuts on schedule, tiny little Charlottesville can figure it out too…without spending $500,000 on a work-around.

    Regardless – and I admit I don’t know the details here – aren’t there much cheaper technologies out there to track buses??? Like cell phone triangulation (think iPhone’s mapping/locator). A guy I worked with made one using old-school pagers during a summer internship with a trucking company to catch their drivers napping on the side of the road. He sure as hell didn’t spend $500k on it.

  17. All of this technology and money is being spent on nearly empty buses. I hate to be a pessimist, but the ones needing the buses for transportation are going to ride with or without this service. Although a slight benefit/luxury, I do not think this is a good use of City money with other pressing priorities. The City is quickly approaching into tight economic times and I am curious as to the yearly maintenance/licensing costs for this new technology, as I have only heard of the 500K year 1 startup.

  18. I agree with Golfer and others who question this expenditure which while it may bring some benefits seems a questionable expenditure in these times.

  19. Folks, this is not your father’s $500K. This is 500K of 21st century dollars. $500K today barely gets you a decent condo downtown. By these modern standards, C-ville got a bargain on the tracking system. -cough-

  20. I have a fear – that these pretty red boxes will be vandalized by teenage hooligans. 500K down the drain…

  21. I fear you might be right Jenny-had never thought of that. But must say it would come as no surprise.
    Remember the yellow bikes program back a few years ago? Another idea that sounded cool-but then reality bit.

  22. Hollow and Jenny one of my many points see above…..we try so hard to be in tune, but the people that are in tune with the people do not have the voice. That is why we are 17th these days I feel.

  23. But wouldn’t a much cheaper alternative than a system to tell you how late the buses are be to make the buses run on time?

    A mantra of management is that you can’t improve something if you can’t measure it. With well over 100 bus stops, there’s no viable method of tracking on-time rates without automatically tracking the location of each bus.

    Look, if a city the size of Tokyo can figure out how to run their buses and trains dead-nuts on schedule, tiny little Charlottesville can figure it out too…without spending $500,000 on a work-around.

    Didn’t you consider how Tokyo does it? :) Tokyo tracks buses via GPS:

    A dedicated terminal is installed on each bus near the driver’s seat, and it interacts with the GPS to pinpoint the bus’s location, enabling passengers to check in advance whether the bus is running on schedule or is stuck in traffic. This system is currently in use on over 3,500 bus lines throughout Japan.

    Regardless – and I admit I don’t know the details here – aren’t there much cheaper technologies out there to track buses???

    Well, actually…no. Things like cell phone triangulation (which you suggest) are notoriously unreliable. As an owner of an iPhone, which uses phone triangulation to sort of simulate GPS, I can testify to its effectiveness in C’ville. At best it will determine my location within a couple of blocks, but at least a third of the time it knows only the half or perhaps quadrant of town that I’m in.

    If you’re looking for a process to track an object’s location in two dimensional space in real-time and report its position back to a central location, you’ve described one thing and one thing only: GPS. :)

    All of this technology and money is being spent on nearly empty buses.

    I can only assume that you posted this comment without fully reading the original blog entry or much of the discussion. CTS has two goals here: getting the buses to run on time and making the buses an attractive means of transportation for people who don’t currently take the bus. Making this data available online seems like an excellent method of doing just that.

    (Oooh, I just had a fun idea: Querying this data for each stop every few minutes, track the arrival times, and create a report on the on-time rates on a per-bus and per-stop basis.)

    The City is quickly approaching into tight economic times and I am curious as to the yearly maintenance/licensing costs for this new technology, as I have only heard of the 500K year 1 startup.

    It would be very surprising to find that there were significant ongoing costs. Surely the bulk of the cost of this is the great expense of purchasing transponding GPS units for each bus, a central server to receive and store that position data, and the terminals to blanket the city. That’s a pretty significant cost and that’s really got to eat up the bulk of that $500k.

    (Fun question: How are these display panels receiving their data? WiFi? Or wired?)

  24. This is somewhat off topic, but I just saw a CTS spokesperson on Channel 29. I have no idea who it was. But will somebody please buy this person a comb. It appeared as if the person has not combed his hair in the last three years. By God, when I was employed in local government I would be sent home for 3 days without pay if I showed up to work looking this bad. I must be old fashioned, because with each and every passing day I think the entire country has gone to hell in a handbasket. There’s no pride in personal appearance any longer? There’s no pride in a professional appearance? Just throw anybody in front of a TV camera?

  25. Regarding Tokyo transit – they’ve been running like clockwork well before GPS became available to the public (2000). Granted, it’s not exactly a fair comparison. Tokyo has such high population density that they’re able to run buses more frequently. I don’t know what system they used before GPS to track buses, if any. My point is that there is a cultural (as in business culture) element involved as well.

    For the sake of accuracy, GPS is not the only way to determine your position in space. LORAN is something that’s been around since the 1940s, for example. Also, GPS itself does not transmit anything back to a central location; transmission requires an additional system (sorry, I’m nitpicking).

  26. Another waste of taxpayer money. Most people who ride the bus have no particular place to go, and no particular time to be some where at an appointed time. A technology that might be of some importance if someone actually highjacked a bus. Then I would think GPS would be of some value to locate the missing bus. Just my .o2.
    Secondly, what ever happened to the $250K traffic light synchronization system the city was to have installed a few years back? Suppose to help traffic move more efficiently and eliminate the constant stop and go of traffic on main and preston.
    The city tries to put a positive spin on all these citizen help programs which the federal government pays 80% of cost and the city pays 20%. Well these 20% kick in’s by local taxpayers add up over time and help to increase your tax bills. I for one would like to see the city start passing on some of these citizen help programs, which in my opinion don’t really make a fat rat’s a#$% or help the average citizen. Just my .o2.

  27. Jogger,
    BALONEY! Many people who use CTS do need the bus and are going places that they need to be, like their jobs and the grocery store. Ride route 7 or the trolley during the morning or evening rush hours or on Saturday when people shop then tell me that nobody takes the bus or if they do it’s for no good reason.

    There’s a lot that can be done to improve CTS and a lot of improvement could be realized without spending huge sums. My experience, and my family’s has not been good. The service is spotty and some of the drivers can be very rude and difficult. I walk to work and drive everywhere else. The bus service will never match the convenience of my car and walking keeps me healthy.

  28. For the sake of accuracy, GPS is not the only way to determine your position in space. LORAN is something that’s been around since the 1940s, for example.

    I didn’t know anybody had used it (other than at sea) since the 1940s. Old school!

    Also, GPS itself does not transmit anything back to a central location; transmission requires an additional system (sorry, I’m nitpicking).

    Of course. That’s why I specified that the system must relay that data back to a central location — there’s nothing inherent about such an action.

  29. jogger and Golfer: I’m a regular bus rider. You both have NO idea what you’re talking about. Why do you keep repeating these same inaccuracies about how much CTS is used? I’ve told you the truth in other threads, but you keep coming back ignorant. What is your agenda?

  30. UVA LaGrape my agenda is quite simple…we do not need the type of bus service being forced upon us in Charlottesville. With the exception of maybe the 7 o’clock round and the 5 o’clock round the buses run empty…or just the driver and one or two passengers. Why have a free trolley running from the UVA and Downtown mall when you have paying buses running the same route? makes no sense. Also, I don’t know about you Uva LaGrape but my life is to short to be waiting for a bus that may or may not be on time, having some rude drivers, dirty seats, ripped seats and often times some unsavory characters which I do not care to be around….I rode the bus for years and just finally got tired of all the crap you had to put up with to ride the bus….my car is much more convenient and allows me to come and go as I please and not at the behiest of someone elses schedule….need more LaGrape????? I’m glad you enjoy the bus, but as your life changes you to will realize what a waste of taxpayer dollars is being spent on the bus system…LaGrape you sound more like the twin oaks type of individual….perhaps you should try living there and away from Charlottesville for a while…until you come to your senses and see how the real world works…

  31. jogger, I’ve taken number 7 at just about all times between 6am and 9pm and found that it is never “empty” by any means. There’s usually a good dozen people on the bus.

    The way it looks to me is that you have a car and would rather not have to pay taxes for the bus. So you take as axiomatic that the bus system is undesirable and work from that axiom. It is unfortunate that this method does not yield solid arguments.

  32. Waldo, if you work out the magic of getting the tracking information, you can also make an iPhone compatible version of your own tracking page. Then we could see what’s happening where ever we are via edge.

  33. I sometimes have difficulty getting a seat on the number 3 bus–the Belmont route, if I take it mid-morning, for example, if I have to be at work at 11:00–a common shift starting time @ UVA. Most people who ride the bus are actually going somewhere, and while it is inconvenient to set up your schedule around the bus’s and wait around at bus stops, it is equally inconvenient to park at U Hall and wait for a shuttle bus to take you to work. The peace of mind I get from never having to find a parking space at UVA is well worth the inconvenience of traveling by bus.

  34. “my car is much more convenient and allows me to come and go as I please and not at the behiest of someone elses schedule” … “you sound more like the twin oaks type of individual”

    Haha! What delightfully low-class comments. Jogger, you sound like the average American type (in fact I’ll bet you’re proud of it too).

    Anyway,

    Information is power. Knowing where the buses are in real-time is an improvement with much potential.

    It’s not hard to imagine situations where ready access to this new information will be useful.

    Well, it’s not hard for me to imagine (some of us may have to take off our NASCAR baseball caps scratch our fat little heads a bit.)

  35. It is fast becoming clear to me that money is no object in City Hall dealings. If newcomers are unable to download the requisite Adobe SVG viewer software sometime in 2009, we’ll just purchase different equipment.

  36. my life is to short to be waiting for a bus that may or may not be on time, having some rude drivers, dirty seats, ripped seats and often times some unsavory characters which I do not care to be around

    “Ripped seats,” eh? That’s a telling detail, Jogger: CTS’ buses have no padding on their seats.

    Just ‘fess up, Jogger–you don’t like poor people, black people or, let’s be honest, people. That’s become clear over the course of your participation on cvillenews.com in the past few months. You don’t like the bus because it’s one other arena in which you might be forced to interact with people (or, as you put it, “unsavory characters”). Thing is, that’s your shortcoming, not CTS’.

  37. Jogger, Waldo,
    You both have a lot in common. You’re both determined to tell people what they think, their motivations and their likes and dislikes. Are you psychic? Why is it important to sterotype the other posters as “twin oaks type of individual” or someone who doesn’t “like poor people, black people or, let’s be honest, people.” Does negatively characterizing someone you disagree with make it easier for you to ignore any truth in what they say?

    Back to the topic: It’s my understanding that the bus locators are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to be accessible to visually impaired riders. That is, they should provide blind people the same information that is provided for the sighted. They don’t. When CTS was asked for the specifications of the bus locator by a visually impaired rider they wouldn’t provide them. The rider contacted the City Attorney and he made CTS provide the specs. Also, the manufacturer of the devices emailed the requestor and told them that CTS had told them not to provide the specs or even talk to them.

  38. I may be wrong about the availability of Adobe SVG viewer. According to Wiki, “Development of the viewer has been discontinued and support ends January 1, 2009. However, downloads from adobe.com/svg should remain possible indefinitely. “http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:IS9xsW06hmMJ:wiki.svg.org/Viewer_Implementations corel svg viewer&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us

  39. You’re both determined to tell people what they think, their motivations and their likes and dislikes.

    Well, let’s look at what Jogger has said about himself. He doesn’t like EMTs, blacks, teachers, liberals, Twin Oaks residents, anybody who supports City Council spending money on things, firemen, police officers or Charlottesville.

    So — call me lazy — I think a decent shorthand for Jogger’s particular situation is to say that he hates everybody. Though, to be fair, he’s yet to express a distaste for gay, libertarian Jewish midgets.

  40. Back to the topic at hand. I was quite happy to see that the 4 bus was correctly predicted on the doohickey box at the stop in front of Studio Art today. I chose to ride the bus home since the wait was two minutes or less. Woohoo!

    Some would argue that I don’t “need” to ride the bus since I don’t work outside the home, but it’s mighty nice to know when it will come when the babe and I are tired and I just don’t feel like walking up and down a few hills. I’ll take the bus if the wait is short, but I can’t entertain a baby by pacing for more than a few minutes.

    Speaking of hills, are we ever going to see a rail crossing (pedestrian or otherwise) between Shamrock and Roosevelt Brown?

  41. Waldo glad you brought up the subject of midgets….I attended the Kid Rock Show at the “jack” and low and behold the Kid had a female midget drummer…..and she could lite’em up……(being a drummer I enjoyed her to the hilt)…I don’t dislike things or people as much as you indicate…You need to have people with different opinions on various blogs…good, bad, indifferent, agreeable..etc..People that think, speak and act alike is what is about to ruin this town…..but I do hate to see taxpayer money being wasted…..We spend way to much ($6.35M this fiscal year as opposed to $5.25M this past fiscal year) on a bus system for a city this size and the cost keeps going up yearly with no “real” increase in ridership, sort of like the school system..decreasing enrollment with ever increasing expenses…There by forcing my real estate taxes to increase and I don’t like that one bit…..

  42. Cville Eye:

    “It is fast becoming clear to me that money is no object in City Hall dealings. If newcomers are unable to download the requisite Adobe SVG viewer software sometime in 2009, we’ll just purchase different equipment.”

    This is an unwarranted assumption. First, this is a software problem, not an equipment problem. (DUG1138 proved that.) Then, you just don’t know what development resources the CTS disposes of. I used to write software for a living and I can tell you that delivering a solution in two steps while staying within budget is quite doable and sometimes much more desirable for the client than a one-step solution.

    Don’t get me wrong: as long as the electronic bus status requires unusual plugins and does not readily work on Macs, *nix-based computers and cellphones, their solution is no solution. But at the same time I can see how releasing an early, more restricted version can get the bureaucrats of their backs and let get them back to dealing with the real issues.

    I’m just hoping that they *are* going to release a cross-platform solution.

  43. jogger wrote:
    “no real increase in ridership”

    oh my god. jogger is a straight up troll. I’ve just figured it. jogger sets up strawmen just to bait us. jogger just throws out anything as if it were fact, with no regard for whether his declarations have anything to do with fact. Well met, sir. Have you enjoyed playing with us? These recent rounds of the game have been won by you.

    Is there a way I can block jogger?

    CTS Director Bill Watterson, Feb 20, 08:

    “CTS is having a very good year for ridership,” said Bill Watterson, opening up his bi-monthly presentation to the MPO. “We’ve already surpassed a million riders for the year, the earliest we’ve ever done that.”

    http://cvilletomorrow.typepad.com/charlottesville_tomorrow_/2008/02/cts-ridership-u.html

  44. What’s more, the UTS bus locator web portal, which is on the same GPS system as CTS, works just fine w/out SVG or IE or even windows…

    it’s almost as if the city government is just being intentionally incompetent

  45. lemur, “But at the same time I can see how releasing an early, more restricted version can get the bureaucrats of their backs and let get them back to dealing with the real issues.” The meaning is obscure. I made my observation based upon the fact that the City is constantly disposing usable equipment: the electric buses, the smaller Benz buses, computer equipment every three years, the fire equipment donated to Moss Pointe, and all of the equipment, large and small, heavy and light, that is auctioned every Friday at the City Yard.
    LaGrape, in fifteen years of bus riding, I have never seen anybody count bus riders on a daily or even regular basis. I have only seen riders counted probably three times, during the annual no-fare day. Until Mr. Watterson explains fully how that data was gathered, I will choose not to believe the numbers anymore than I believe the declarations of slow CARS response times by Councilor Taliaferro and Fire Chief Werner.

  46. “I have never seen anybody count bus riders on a daily or even regular basis.”
    Actually, the standard method for counting passengers is through the number of times the farebox is used. In addition to these farebox counts, the driver notes counts of non-paying or reduced fare riders. I’ve gotten on the bus with UVA students (who ride free), and watched the driver note each rider on a little clipboard. Combining this notation with the fare numbers gives a total ridership. Such counts would be more likely to lead to undercounts in riders, rather than excessive estimates, as noted in this research RFP for the federal Transportation Research Board: http://rns.trb.org/dproject.asp?n=13848
    The counts would have to be more obvious on no fare days, but counts go on continually. Train that Eye on the driver next time you hop on, and you will see that every rider is counted, even if someone isn’t on the bus pointing an index finger at each person on the bus.

  47. Bill waterson presenting to the MPO. Now that”s a hoot. I wouldn’t believe anything either one of them have to say. Just pushing their own agenda’s. As far as counts go when I was a regular bus rider I have seen the bus driver press the counter button on the fare box several times when only one or two riders got on the bus. The counts are at best unreliable.

  48. So much for real-time. The site says that the bus that is outside the window right now will not arrive for another 9 minutes.

  49. The clipboard count may well be the way it’s SUPPOSED to work. Sitting there, listening to and watching the bus driver, my Eye is focused and the clipboard, if near, does not move. Maybe the clipboard is updated at the end of the shift or even at the beginning. The driver chats while I pay, chats while those behind me get on and not pay, and chats while telling people which bus to transfer to while handing them a transfer. Then the bus driver’s hand grip the steering wheel, he checks out the traffic and pulls off. Fifteen years I’ve watched this.

  50. A few years ago the city paid to have a survey done on the trolley to show where people were boarding and exiting. I got on and watched the people taking the survey while I rode several complete circuits. The survey taker did not count people getting on at the UVa Hospital stop on JPA and he didn’t count the riders getting off a few minutes later at Scott Stadium. It was very obvious. I said something to the survey taker and he got angry and told me that I was, “the kind of person who messes up these survey’s”.

    Based on my own observations I do believe that ridership has gone up and that more people are taking the trolley from UVa to the Downtown Mall but I sure don’t trust CTS’s data.

  51. If I remember the correct time, the surveyor claimed a large number of riders filled out the survey, but several people who rode the trolley daily said they never say a survey. As so many people say constantly, “They’re going to do what they want to do anyway,” so I don’t know why they put themselves through all of those hoops. As you know, many people believe there’s never anymore than three people on any bus at any time, so who do they think they are convincing of what? That the more money they spend, the more riders they have; they more riders they have, the more cars they have taken off the road? Nobody really and truly believe that a transit system will actually relieve congestion significantly; but, several books can be written for credential building.

  52. How will we ever be able to measure a significant decline? I’m not sure there has been any benchmarks set up to compare results to. And, what would you consider a significant reduction, 5%, 15%, 25%?

  53. I thought you were asleep.

    You’re right, I totally should be. It’s late.

    Hey, I just noticed the timestamps on comments are off by an hour. This change in DST has thrown things all off…

  54. Jareth Cutestory, thanks for the link. The City’s knowledge base going into this thing was based upon an old HP 3000. What is being installed is totally proprietary and I’ve heard is $20M . When a couple of people (identified as republicans) associated with UVA questioned O’Connell’s direction, they were treated with something less than respect. The question I have is, “Is it incompetence or just old fashioned ignorance?” When you have an unlimited purse, does it really matter to those spending?

  55. What I find funny is that my roommate has a GPS transmitter on his bike that is viewable using google maps. I think the battery and gps antenna together cost no more that $200. No proprietary plug-ins that’s for sure, it displays just fine on my iPhone.

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