Monday, January 23, 2017
What do you want? Information! (transit edition)
I recently commented on the disparity between the remarkable breadth and depth of highway traffic information collected and managed by transportation agencies and the all-too-often paucity of information made available to the customer. On a recent visit to DC, I experienced really good information and really bad information on the transit side of things, on the same Metro line.
As an only-occasional Metro rider, I like to have reassurance that I’m on the right train (this is the voice of experience speaking) and to keep track of when my desired station is approaching. On one trip on the Orange Line, I was in an information black hole. There were two system maps in the car (not near me). There was no line map and no notice of the next stop. The name of the station on the platform couldn’t be made out through the tinted windows if it was on the far side. And the announcements by the operator were totally unintelligible. (Don’t these folks get training?)
The next day I had a ride on one of the newest cars, and it was a real contrast. There were electronic signs displaying the next station, electronic line maps, and very clear recorded announcements!
Information can be a wonderful thing.