Thursday, July 9, 2009
The Los Angeles region is widely known for its extreme traffic, and a study released just this week by the Texas Transportation Institute reports that LA has the most significant congestion in the United States. It goes on to estimate that commuters in LA spent 485 million hours idling in traffic, wasting 367 million gallons of gas.
However, Los Angeles also has an extensive public transit network, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), and today we're excited to introduce them as the newest addition to Google Transit. Metro operates 5 rail lines and nearly 200 bus lines within Los Angeles County, logging an average of 1.5 million weekday boardings.
As a part of Google Transit, Metro's itineraries will now appear as an alternative with the "Public Transit" link when a user searches for driving directions within their service area to remind commuters of the availability of public transit. Turning on the Traffic layer in Google Maps to get an idea of what congestion awaits may provide even more motivation to try take advantage of Metro!
Los Angeles welcomed 4.7 million international visitors last year, so the ability to use the familiar Google Maps interface in a native language is another great benefit to tourists and potential Metro passengers. This announcement of Metro's participation in Google Transit also comes just a few weeks after they published their GTFS data to their developer site, so we hope to see more creative applications take advantage of the developer tools Metro provides.
Whether Metro's inclusion in Google Transit helps people discover the availability of public transit in LA, or makes it easier for people to plan their transit itineraries, we're excited to have such a large agency on board and hope it will help beat some of the infamous LA traffic.