GGW: Talk transportation and technology on January 21: “TransportationCamp, the free “unconference” on the intersection of urban transportation and technology, is coming to DC on January 21. Whether you like to build software around open transit data or are interested in how technology can help transit agencies and riders, we hope you will join us.”
Lisa Margonelli @ NY Times: Thinking Outside the Bus : “Legal issues aside, private vans provide services no public system could support, says David King, an assistant professor of urban planning at Columbia University. The concentration of vans along Flatbush means that sometimes there’s a van every minute, so riders don’t have to wait. Sometimes they’ll take a mother and child to daycare and then wait at the curb while the mother walks the child up to the door of the facility — something a city bus would never do. Always on the lookout for customers, the drivers make routes where customers don’t have other options. A van between Chinatowns in Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, for instance, can take as little as 20 minutes when the subway would take over an hour. King says that he sees potential to enhance transit options for everyone by incorporating dollar van type services.
For one thing, dollar vans quickly learn passengers’ desired routes, like traveling between Chinatowns. This sort of knowledge could help public transit planners design systems that keep up with riders’ real needs. Dollar vans’ ability to scale up dramatically intrigues King. “According to our estimates, the dollar vans are carrying 120,000 riders a day in New York, which makes them the country’s 20th largest bus system.””