We reported back in 2013 that SDOT planned to add Real-Time Information Signs (RTIS) on Jackson, Rainier, and as funding permitted, the Market/45th Corridor. In welcome news for riders, SDOT announced on Friday that the remaining 11 signs will be coming to the Market/45th corridor by this summer. The signs will be located at:
- (2) Ballard Ave/Market (Routes 17X, 18X, 29, 40, 44)
- (1) 15th/Market (44 Eastbound)
- (1) 8th Market (44 Eastbound/28X inbound)
- (4) 46th/Phinney (5, 5X, 44)
- (2) 45th/Wallingford (16, 44)
- (1) 45th/Roosevelt (44 westbound, 810, 821, 855, 860, 871, 880)
Continuing SDOT’s recent laudable history of not missing ancillary opportunities presented by new construction, each of these stops will also be rebuilt at the same time to provide pedestrian-activated street crossings and curb ramps.
While this is great news for riders, those without smartphones, and for the aesthetics and usability of the system more generally, I do hope that the data will be more thoughtfully curated than the current signs on Rainier and Jackson. Deciding what data to exclude is more important than deciding what to include. The signs usually present the next six or nine arrivals in batches of three, and at stops with frequent service and multiple routes this makes good sense. But if you are standing at 15th/Market, where only the 44 stops, you would see a display for Route 44 arrivals in 5/20/35 minutes, followed a few seconds later by arrivals 50/65/80 minutes away. Unlike on a smartphone, where you are likelier to plan a future trip, if you are already standing at the bus stop it is 100% certain that you do not need to see trips on the same route that are over an hour away. In such cases the feed should always show the nearest 3 arrival times only.
The same principle applies to arrivals at the end of their trip. At the westbound 45th/Roosevelt sign, SDOT would do well to exclude the 167 and 373, for which this is the last inbound stop, and push Community Transit to provide real-time data for their 800-series express routes.