Tuesday, December 2, 2008

MAT Makeover With New Trip Planner

Quite randomly, I clicked onto the Omaha Metro Area Transit web site and was surprised to see a major enhancement to the bus service web site.

In addition to a new look and feel on the same old content is a brand new interactive trip planner. Gone are the days of looking at a digitized copy of the printed bus schedules trying to figure out where on the line your stop is, and here are the bright, new days of planning a trip online.

While there still seem to be a few kinks to work out, the planner tells me what I need to know. I can tell the system where I am, and where I want to go, and when I want to get there. The system will respond with step by step instructions of where to go, when to be there, and how long the trip will take. The trip info also details transfers and walking distance.

Even if you don't know exactly where you want to go, the system can help make suggestions for destinations like "Grocery" or "Train Station."

I've seen systems like this in other larger cities, so it's cool to see MAT rising to the challenge of transforming Omaha into a more accessible community though easy to use public transit.

8 comments:

brady said...

Hey Redd, with 18°F and 22 mph winds (feels like -5°F), did you opt for taking the MAT today? I didn't see your rig on the rack.

Scott Redd said...

Normally on Thursdays, I bike in and bus home in time to drive my daughter to a drama class, then return to work for an hour.

Today she's auditioning for a vocal solo after school, so I have to pick her up from school before the drama class. I couldn't work the bike into the routine today, so I drove downtown in the morning for the first time in months.

It was kind of weird seeing changes and construction in the areas where I had been parking and walking.

Just for fun, I drove my bike route for comparison. Cycling, it takes me about 25-30 minutes. Driving, it took about 15-20 minutes, and that assumes I could hitch my truck to the bike rack, rather than searching for a parking spot.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a cycle day.

brady said...

It appears as though riding vs driving is practically a wash when you add the parking factor. Of course, then there's the cleaning up part after riding...

Anyway, tomorrow will be a better day for riding with a high of 37°F.

Scott Redd said...

I see clean up time as even between a car/bus commute and a bike commute. In the first case, I shower and change at home. In the second, I shower and change in the gym.

Tomorrow's 6am low is 11F, though... pretty frigid commute. We'll see how the lobster claws perform.

brady said...

That a kid, 'tschk.

That's it. I'm riding in too.

brady said...

How did the Lobsters work out today in 12°F (0°F windchill)?

Scott Redd said...

They worked out really well. I think adding some thin liners might help, but the difference between the lobsters and the Gavia gloves was very noticeable.

I summarized the ride on this comment to a previous post (scroll to the end).

How were your feet?

Yeah, the wind makes it colder. Looks like I will have 15MPH winds in my face all the way home today.

Stay warm!

brady said...

The Feet are good - very warm. Are you having troubles? For longer rides & cold feet, Munson swears on toe warmers. You can pick up a bunch at a place like Canfields on the cheap (in comparison to LBS).

In my opinion, yesterday's blustery ride in was the worst of the past three trips, but manageable with full balaclava, two long sleeve tech shirts and a woolie, lobsters, cycling shorts amfib bibs, wool socks & booties over shoes.

Still, it's getting near the edge of being comfortable for the 25 minute commute.