Sunday, September 02, 2007


Magic Bus

I've noticed recently that new bus stops are going up around NYC with an LED display that tells you when the next bus will arrive. Being skeptical by nature, I assumed that the reported arrival time was when the next bus was scheduled to arrive, not when it actually would. I'm friends with two bus dispatchers so I asked them what's up with the new signs and I got a shocker. All NYC buses (at least that's the plan) are fitted with GPS devices that report their exact location, so somehow the bus's distance from the stop is used to calculate an arrival time that's displayed on the bus stop. The long range plan, I'm told, is that all buses will be controlled and dispatched from a central location (like the subways are already) and computer models will be used to identify problem areas to which the central dispatcher will respond. Remarkable.

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