Google, meet Tri-Met. Tri-Met, meet Google.

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Wow. This might be the coolest thing I've seen online in a long time.

Google just announced a variation of their online mapping tool that includes a mass transit planner. The only transit system included so far? Our very own Tri-Met.

All you have to do is tell it where you are, where you want to go, and when you want to get there. It'll map it, give you walking/riding instructions, and tell you the fare (and how much the driving alternative might be).

Check it out: Here's directions from City Hall to the Bagdad Theatre. Try it yourself:

Hat tip to Portland Transport and News4Neighbors.

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    I think it must be down right now -- I'm just getting the regular driving directions.

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    I don't get any TriMet data either.

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    It's working for me. It's got the walk here, take the #14, then walk here....

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    Ah, they've now posted a message for Safari users:

    Unfortunately, Google Transit doesn't currently support the Safari web browser—but we're working on it! In the meantime, we recommend Firefox for viewing Google Transit on the Mac.

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    Very promising. I love Google maps in general. I haven't used MapQuest in ages.

    One thing I did notice though is that Google Transit's place database is not nearly as good as TriMet's Trip Planner database. Google Transit recognizes "PDX" but not things like "Pioneer Courthouse Square", "City Hall" or "Grant High School" all of which are handled nicely by TriMet's trip planner. You need intersections or addresses for Google Transit for most things it appears.

    That place recognition feature can save quite a few steps if you don't happen to know exactly where something is. I will probably stick with TriMet's Trip Planner until Google Transit does better at that.

  • Wes Wagner (unverified)

    Oh come on, the least you could have done was come up with an example inside the fareless square so it would be cheaper to take the bus than drive... the spin doctoring capabilities over here are slipping!

    Btw, where is the real economic cost on the google calculator, you know the city wages, taxes and subsidies required to subsidize that more expensive bus ride?

    -Wes Wagner NW Meridian

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    Oh, Wes, you're so silly. Of course driving is cheaper when you only go a few blocks. Here's another example - from Portland City Hall to Nike HQ. Bus is $1.80, drive is $4.32.

    And if we're going to include externalities - rather than just the cost to the consumer - let's include the cost of highway pavement, emergency room visits for uninsured motorists, and oh yeah, the war in Iraq to secure our oil supply.

    Silly, silly.

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    Yet another thing I miss around here in the swamp: coherent mass transit, in this case, coupled with the Internet Genius of Google.

    Damn right, Sergei Brin and the crew at Google are my friend...

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