Metro data outage on Google Transit should be resolved soon, according to Google

As some of our riders may have noticed, Google Transit is still not displaying Metro bus and rail service. The problem dates to last week and involves an issue with the transfer of data from Metro to Google.

Google provided Metro with an update on Monday morning and said they are working to resolve the problem — and it should be resolved very soon.

In the meantime, we appreciate your patience. To help you get around in the meantime, you can contact Metro at 323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876) and speak with an agent who can assist you with your travel needs, or you can visit Metro.net and use Trip Planner.

In the meantime, we also urge you to take current recommendations from Google Transit with a grain of salt. Here's a 3.5-hour trip it just provided me between my current location (L.A. Union Station) and downtown Long Beach:

 

Metro transit info currently not available on Google Transit

More than a few people have noticed that Google Transit hasn’t been showing Metro transit info lately. Metro routinely sends Google revised data concerning routes and schedules, and the process of updating data is mostly automated.

In this case, there was a transfer failure and Google is working to correct the problem. It is anticipated that they will have Metro’s transit info available again by next Monday, August 26, if not before.

To help you get around in the meantime, you can contact Metro at 323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876) and speak with an agent who can assist you with your travel needs, or you can visit Metro.net and use Trip Planner.

Poll results thus far: transit riders mixed on whether Google Glass should be allowed aboard buses and trains

GoogleGlass1

GoogleGlass2

Above are the results thus far of our unscientific (as always) poll on how transit riders feel about other transit riders wearing Google Glass in the future with some of the comments below.

Thus far, the results are very mixed and indicate that Google Glass may have a little work to do in the marketing department. I’ll keep the poll open for those interested in this topic and haven’t voted yet.

Also, from our original post:

Here’s a fun story in last week’s New Yorker about one of those testers and his experiences. As the story explains, having the functions of a smartphone sitting on your face (for lack of a better term) is very different animal than having the functions of a smartphone in your hand or pocket.

As the article also notes, some establishments have already banned Google Glass because they don’t want users surreptitiously taking photos through glasses either for legal reasons (an art gallery may not own the rights to the art it displays) or for the sake of their clientele (patrons at a bar, for example).

Take our poll: how do you feel about fellow transit riders wearing Google Glass?

Google Glass. Photo by Antonio Zugaldia, via Flickr creative commons.

In recent months, I’ve been reading with increasing curiosity about Google Glass, the glasses developed by Google which allow users to view the internet and take photos and videos. They are not on the market yet, but Google has been providing them to some members of the public for test runs.

Here’s a fun story in last week’s New Yorker about one of those testers and his experiences. As the story explains, having the functions of a smartphone sitting on your face (for lack of a better term) is very different animal than having the functions of a smartphone in your hand or pocket.

As the article also notes, some establishments have already banned Google Glass because they don’t want users surreptitiously taking photos through glasses either for legal reasons (an art gallery may not own the rights to the art it displays) or for the sake of their clientele (patrons at a bar, for example).

If Google Glass becomes popular, I’m curious about how transit riders view the devices. Are they just another cool gadget building on the advances of smartphones? Or do you think they’re overly obtrusive and a violation of whatever privacy you have left when riding public transport?

Take the poll and feel free to comment please; one comment per customer please.

Metro’s mobile app — downloaded over 200,000 times and update coming soon!

Go Metro start-up screen

Go Metro v2.2.4 on iPhones

Hi Readers,

This is a quick update on our mobile app, Go Metro Los Angeles. The app recently surpassed 220,000 downloads. The device breakdown is roughly:

  • Over 100,000 times by Android devices
  • Over 120,000 times by iPhone/iPad devices

Additionally, 15 percent of all Apple downloads are from international customers (top countries: Canada, Australia, Germany, UK, France), while seven percent of all Android downloads are from international customers (top countries: Korea, Australia, UK, Mexico, Canada).

A new update of the app will be available for download the week of June 24th with these improvements:

  • Nextrip Rail Info (real-time rail arrivals)
  • June 2013 'shake-up' schedules (scheduled data automatically displays when cell data or wifi is not available)
  • Larger walking distance of up to one mile (by customer request – we heard you)
  • and some user interface revisions

I am including a few preview screen shots of the updated app showing Rail real time arrivals and scheduled arrivals. Work will also begin on Version 3.0 (a brand new version) of the app in July 2013, with a tentative release for Spring 2014.

The app integrates data, design, functionality, and real-time news from many Metro departments: Service Development & Performance Analysis, Creative Services Design Studio, Customer Relations, COO's Office, Construction Relations, Metro Library, Media Relations and Bicycle Planning. The app is designed and managed by Communications Web & Mobile Group.

Real time rail arrivals

Real time rail arrivals

Scheduled rail arrivals

Scheduled rail arrivals

 

Nextrip for Metro Rail now available; please let us know what you think

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Nextrip on an iPhone. Click above to visit Nextrip’s desktop version for Metro Rail.

The Nextrip program that currently provides real-time arrival information for bus service has been expanded to include real-time arrivals for Metro Rail.

There are multiple ways to access the Nextrip real-time train arrival information. It can be viewed on the web, via smart phone browser, by texting a Metro bus stop ID number to 41411 and via telephone by dialing 511 and saying, “Nextrip.” (A Nextrip Rail app is in development.) And coming up soon, electronic signs on the train platforms will show real-time arrival information rather than the scheduled arrival times displayed now.

While the program continues to roll out, riders should give themselves extra time to ensure they don’t miss the train. The service is brand new and still being tweaked. As always, let us know what you think. Is it working for you?

If using a smart phone to access real-time rail info, remember to enable Nextrip to use your current location if it asks. The Nextrip mobile site also allows you how to look up arrival times at all rail stations: on a smartphone, click on “menu,” then “select specific stop” and then select “Los Angeles Rail” from the next list. At that point, select the Metro Rail line and then select a station.

Science + Art = A beautiful way to learn

Artists and Nerds (respectfully and fondly) united last week at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's “From Data to Discovery” conference on the Caltech campus in Pasadena. The one day event hosted by JPL, the Arts Center and Caltech focused on using visualizations to communicate complex topics. Such visualizations are a great way to engage the uninitiated!

The speaker list of big data divas included Jeff Heer, of Stanford, who showed off innovative data visualization platforms such as D3: Data-Driven Documents, which is a robust javascript tool kit for creating data visualizations, and Data Wrangler, which appears to be nothing short of a life saver for anyone who has to clean data sets. Dr. Heer also recommended that anyone interested in data visualization should look online for his class at Stanford called CS448b.

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Visualization of migration from California 1995-2000 by Stanford InfoViz

Jeff Thor, a self-described data artist and co-founder of The Office for Creative Research discussed his “Ooooo-Ahhhh” philosophy. He stressed that a successful visual not only draws audiences in with interesting visuals (Ooooo), but then makes you think with the data that it represents (Ahhhhh). He showed one of his early projects, a visualization called Just Landed, which represents tweets where people have written “just landed” and ties them to where they are from (according to their profiles). It’s a very cool effect.

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Still from Jeff Thor's Just Landed

Attending the conference is giving metro ideas on how they might share some of the robust data within the agency. New ways to explain complex transportation issues are always helpful. Any reader requests for data visualizations? We may not have the time or the skills to fill your requests, but you can help us brainstorm!

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Jacarandas in bloom around Beckman Auditorium

The conference was hosted at the Beckman Auditorium, a beautiful mid-century modern design, (1964 Edward Durrell Stone), currently surrounded by beautiful blooming jacaranda trees. I recommend a visit before the flowers wither. The campus is accessible from several bus lines, including the Pasadena ARTS 10 bus, Metro's 177 bus or the Gold Line Lake Avenue station to the 485 bus headed south. Exit at California Avenue and walk two blocks east to reach campus.