Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NYC transit directions have arrived

Today I'm happy to report we've taken a giant step in bringing public transit information to Google Maps. We've just added comprehensive transit info for the entire New York metro region, encompassing subway, commuter rail, bus and ferry services from the Metropolitan Transit Agency (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit and the City of New York. That means this information is now at the fingertips of the more than 20 million people who live in and around New York (not to mention the millions of people who visit the region every year). The MTA is the largest transportation agency in the U.S., serving one in every three users of mass transit in the country.

Transit is a vital part of the infrastructure that makes cities run efficiently, and can help mitigate congestion, environmental concerns, and increasing energy costs. But until recently, access to that information has been more difficult than it needs to be. Even very prominent train and subway stations were often omitted entirely from maps in many cases. And as for bus lines, well, forget about it! This lead us to the fundamental goal of the Google Transit project: make public transit information as easy to find as any other geographic information.

We can only achieve this goal if we work closely with transit agencies around the globe to bring accurate and comprehensive transit information to everyone. Our role in this partnership is to bring all of this information together and make it easy to search and browse in interfaces that are simple, consistent and readily available.

Thinking about the magnitude of today's launch, I can't help but think about how far we've come towards reaching our goal. It's been nearly two years to the day since I posted about the expansion of the Google Transit trip planner (we added five more cities to our initial single-city launch in Portland, Oregon). And in that post I included some statistics about how many people lived in a city covered by our product. At the time, our coverage was 6 U.S. cities. Now we cover more than 170 cities and countries across the globe, including about 70 cities in North America and 81 in China, plus cities in Europe and Australia and national coverage of Japan, Switzerland and Austria. And the number of people served annually by agencies was at about 6 million. Now it's hard to count precisely, but the number is at least at several hundred million (wow!).

I would like to personally thank everyone at the agencies for their incredible level of enthusiasm for and commitment to the best interests of their riders.

And to the riders: have fun! I hope you like the product as much as I do, and that it helps you get out and explore the world. To learn more about transit info in New York, head to maps.google.com/nyc.

Link - from The Official Google Blog
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