June 19, 2008 By David Raths
I live in a suburb of Philadelphia. This morning as I planned a business trip to New York for next week, I went online to New York City Transit's Trip Planner to figure out how I would make my way from Penn Station to the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers at 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street.
Entering my starting point and destination quickly brought up several public transportation options along with walking directions from the closest subway stops.
New features recently added to the Trip Planner make the experience much more immersive for users and reduce the likelihood that visitors will end up calling Metropolitan Transit Authority's NYC Transit agency seeking help. The updated Trip Planner includes aerial and three-dimensional views of the city. Users can get now get walking directions and print walking maps from the closest subway stop to their destination. By using Microsoft Virtual Earth and map data from Navteq, NYC Transit says it is able to provide a more realistic view of the street grid than it previously could, making it easier for users to visualize the walking instructions.
More Detailed Maps
Like other public transit and departments of transportation around the country, NYC Transit is taking advantage of its own databases and enhanced mapping capability to empower citizens to take better advantage of transportation systems.
NYC Transit began offering the online Trip Planner in late 2006, when the agency switched the database software used by call takers in its own travel information center to a product called Transit Information System (ATIS), from Trapeze Software Inc. Agency staff wrote Trip Planner as an interface to the ATIS database and made the interface available online to the public.
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