Bus route planning – there’s an app for that

We’ve been learning a whole lot about riding the bus for this project.  It’s an inevitable side effect as we go from never riding the bus before to riding the bus nearly every day (starting tomorrow!!*).  But this tidbit has been so helpful that I had to share it.

Google maps has a bus route function.

Boom.

Metro, trip planner, route, alternative transportation, Omaha

I know many of you probably already knew this.  But I never paid attention to the fact that you can switch Google maps off of “driving” directions to bus routes, bicycle riding, or walking directions.  Which is really, really helpful.

When you look at the spiderweb of bus routes on a map, it can be overwhelming.  There’s just no way around it.  Omaha is a big city, and they try to extend coverage to as many people as possible – which leads to some 31 different bus routes and a 200,000 square foot bus barn.  It’s a big production.  The Google maps route can really help you simplify your planning down.  Instead of studying all the different routes and learning where they travel and when – you can just type in where you are, where you want to go, and when you want to depart.

We’re still doing all the route by route study, because it’s important for this project.  But for the average traveler, just type it in and go.  It’s very convenient.  And if you have a smartphone, this is ridiculously convenient.

If you’re not a bus rider, try typing in some locations and see what a trip by bus would be like for you.  Try planning a trip from your home to your favorite coffee shop or restaurant, or to get groceries.  If you’re feeling adventurous, actually take the trip.  It’ll be a good way to experience what we will be experiencing, and be a part of the community of people who ride the bus.  Maybe we’ll see you there.  When you do this, leave a message in the comments about what you experienced when you planned the trip or made the venture.

If you ride the bus regularly, do you use technology like this to help you plan?  What is the process like for you to map out a trip?  Do you have any other tips for us?

-Jameson Hooton

* If you’re curious why we haven’t ridden the bus yet, there are two reasons:  1)  We missed the bus on our first day!  We’re excited to remedy that ridiculous foible with our amazing successes tomorrow.  ;)  2)  We just got home from photographing a wedding in California!  Check out the link to see part of our trip chronicled with instagram photos.

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