Google Improves Transit Information in Google Maps

(via the Google Maps blog)

For some time now we have been “painting” icons for transit stops into our maps. While it was helpful to be able to see where to catch a train or bus, it left a lot of people wishing they could click on the icon to get more information about a specific station. Now that’s all changed! Depending on the data available for a given public transit system, Google Maps now shows the next departure times, what lines serve a specific station, and/or a link to the transit agency to get more detail. Try clicking on one of the little bus or tram icons on this map of Zurich, Switzerland, to see what we mean. You can also search for stations (for example “59th St – Columbus Circle Station, new york“).

What it means: very zeitgeist-y. Transit system information is becoming more and more important as people decide to leave their car at home to reduce their environmental footprint. If your site uses maps and driving directions (especially local search and directory sites), you should be thinking of embedding similar information. Start discussing with your local transit authorities.

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