As a transit fan and lover of maps, I’ve always been captivated by the screens in control rooms that show the status of every vehicle in service.
Those maps inspired me to use the real-time data provided by transit agencies to create one of my own. Before long, a simple set of pins on a map spiraled into a comprehensive “bird’s-eye view” of the entire transit system.
Today I’m releasing it as the Puget Sound Transit Operations Tracker. Every in-service vehicle (that actively reports data) will appear on the map for eight area transit agencies, including King County Metro, Sound Transit, and Community Transit. Each vehicle has also been matched to its make and model information, and icons can be filtered by these parameters and more. Check out the full set of features and future plans after the jump.
Icons for each transit vehicle are colored according to the agency that owns it. Pierce Transit buses are green, and Everett Transit buses are dark red. King County Metro has four colors: red for RapidRide coaches, purple for trolleybuses, blue for 60-foot coaches, and green for 40-foot or shorter coaches. Unidentifiable vehicles for all agencies are white. Tapping an icon reveals the full set of known information about the vehicle, including, for some agencies, the trips assigned to the vehicle and the schedule for its current trip.
There’s also an option to switch the icon colors according to schedule status, so on-time buses appear green, early buses appear blue, and late buses appear red. Vehicles with no active trip will appear white with this setting.
Additionally, icons can have a data overlay which shows the route number and vehicle ID. This is off by default because it slows down panning and zooming the map in most browsers.
You can filter the map to display only a certain route; a specific vehicle ID number or series; a make, model, or length of vehicle ; and vehicles running early, on-time, late, or very late. The last filter is “coach anomalies,” which detects certain unusual assignments like a non-RapidRide bus on a RapidRide route, an agency bus serving an ST Express route, the inverse of these, and more. During the snowstorm, combining the length filter with the on-time color theme yielded interesting insights.
The Statistics bar summarizes all the data about vehicles being displayed on the map. This shows information like the number of each model in service, the current on-time performance, and the number of vehicles on each route. It’s worth underscoring that this only looks at vehicles on the map—active filters will alter this, as will changing which agencies are showing.
Right now, these are the only available statistics. The next major of version of P-Track is going to record or analyze information over time, enabling features such as checking a trip’s on-time performance over recent days and more.
Other features will include viewing the assignment history for each vehicle, which will highlight more kinds of unusual coach assignments, and expanding the information about a vehicle’s current block and trip.
You can check it out for yourself at ptrack.konafarry.com. Have any questions, comments, or other feedback? Let me know in the comments below!
Kona Farry is a student at the University of Washington