Real-Time Transit Display: The First "Transit Appliance"

Weeels may be a “transit utility,” but Chris Smith from Portland Transport has debuted what he is calling the world’s first “Transit Appliance”.

Drawing upon a number of a variety of Open Source software components (including Linux), the Open Hardware “Chumby” platform, and public open data from Portland’s TriMet & NextBus, it can deliver real-time transit arrival estimates to a display in your home, coffee shop, library or, well, anywhere frequented by transit users. It would cost about $200 and require only a WiFi connection. 

This sounds like a really elegant and simple solution, inspiring for those of us looking for ways of building new ways to distribute information – and connect users – around transit. 

There’s one problem with using systems like this in outdoor spaces: these devices don’t last long in public, either because of vandalism or wear-and-tear. If that problem can be addressed – and I think it can – transit agencies around the country should consider adopting similar systems, which could eventually be a heck of a lot cheaper than the digital signage that the MTA has been using.

 via StreetFilms