Google Gets On the Bus
Will the price of gas and heightened environmental awareness lead to a resurge in public transportation in the United States? Perhaps Google thinks so and has released a test beta of a public transportation system planner; Google Transit.
The Google Transit service is a Google Local-esque riding directions (instead of driving directions) for those looking to take the bus, train, or feet. Although only currently available for the Portland area (Oregon, not Maine), I imagine the service will be well used for commuters and travelers in major US metropolitan areas, and then when integrated into Google Local and Google Local Mobile.
Additonally, express city to city bus routes and Amtrak schedules (especially on the East Coast) should be integrated over time.
For penny pinchers out there who are not motivated to explore public transportation by warming & rising oceans, hurricanes, and acid rain, Forbes likes the Price Check feature : One neat feature is a price check on the trip to be made, allowing the user to decide whether it would be better to go by car after all. The service cleverly calculates the cost of driving, based on the average mileage for the shortest route between the start and end addresses and the cost per mile (40.5 cents) that the IRS allows businesses to deduct, although it doesn’t yet account for tolls, variations in gas mileage for different types of cars, and over-zealous parking attendants.