[clug] An idea

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Thu Aug 18 16:15:10 MDT 2011

On 18 Aug 2011, at 10:00, Keith Sayers wrote:

> 	And I possibly could within the ALP.  We have a policy committee for IT matters who 
> would probably understand all this better than I do - what should I present to them?

The same arguments the Greens have been using for so long:
 - promote active transport
 - better utilisation of busses
 - easier commuting using busses
 - reduce traffic burden on the roads
 - reduce pollution
 - improve health (which in turn reduces load on hospital system)

Giving people a tool which does the hard work in the "catch a bus" workflow means that more people will use the bus because it ends up requiring less effort than driving.

The current "catch a bus" workflow is:
 - pore over network map to find routes that suit your travel
 - inspect individual routes for timings
 - attempt to assemble schedule based on individual routes
 - turn up to bus stop
 - get on bus
 - follow prearranged schedule for transfers
 - hope all busses are on time

Those first three steps are far more work than anyone has to do when commuting by car. Since people are, in general, lazy, they'll pick the "commute by car" option rather than "spend half an hour figuring out which busses to catch" option. And by "lazy" I mean "tending towards optimisation of effort put into an activity related to the benefit gained from that activity". Putting mental effort into selecting busses to catch for a trip that will take an hour, versus hopping in the car and arriving at the destination in twenty minutes? That's a no-brainer.

The common faults in the current system are:
 - an early or late bus can throw transfer times out
 - unless you're in the habit of writing things down, going to the wrong platform is easy
 - missing a single transfer in a three-bus trip can cost 15-30min in arrival time
 - arriving home half an hour late may put a person off using the bus tomorrow

The advantages of an automated bus trip planning tool are:
 - less stress when a bus is missed or cancelled
 - less confusion when transferring (was it platform 6 or 8?)
 - participant gets to use their shiny toy for good

The advantages of opening up the tool building environment are:
 - there are many people in the community who are more familiar with software development than any ACTION staff
 - with many eyes, all problems are shallow (just ask Kaggle)

Hope this helps

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