By: Martin Courcelles, Specialist, Web Accessibility and Adaptive Technology
Okay, the title doesn't really explain itself, so I'll help it along a bit. Our local transit system, (Toronto Transit Commission, TTC), recently made their bus and Streetcar GPS information available via an online service called Next Bus.
You can find this at: www.nextbus.com
Most North American cities have listed their transit information there. As long as you have access to an internet browser on your cell phone or PDA, you can quickly find out when your next transit vehicle will be passing by.
Some cities even have regular automated phone line information that you can access via traditional phones and/or cell phones. It's worth a look to find out if you may have access to automated to-the-minute information.
What about this accessible coffee thing?
Well, here's the deal. Since the TTC, and other transit systems, have made available its GPS information in an online format, this means that cell phone developers can create apps to utilize this data. In comes the IPhone app called "Next TTC". This particular app has been around for a while, but it only had streetcar information. Version 2.0 just came out and we now have real-time bus information for the Greater Toronto Area. The app sells for 99 cents within the app store. Read the description and you'll be happy to note that VoiceOver access has been built into the product. It even can utilize vibration alerts to notify you of the next bus arrival. You can save your favourite routes. It utilizes the GPS receiver within the IPhone to locate the bus numbers for your current location. Best of all, you can time your Tim Hortons visit to grab your coffee while still making your bus to work. I know where my priorities are. So accessibility and convenience is available to you for less than a medium coffee; minus the upfront purchase of the IPhone, and/or the dreaded 2 or 3 year contract. But you get the idea.
Well, I've got a bus to catch and it's coming in, oh jeez, 7 minutes. I better get cracking!
Wish there was an app to slow down time.
Happy transit riding!