12:42pm

Wed November 16, 2011
Business and the Economy

Louisville Region Partners Public Transportation with Google

The Louisville Metro region has joined the ranks of hundreds of other metropolitan areas that have partnered public transportation with Google. Passengers can now click a public transit option on Google Maps to find the closest scheduled Transit Authority of River City (TARC) route to their destination. Users will be given three departure times for this route.

“We want to be on the leading edge, but not the bleeding edge. I think we’ve been working with this for six months, eight months. And so you can see we’re joining about 500 other cities,” said Barry Barker, TARC’s executive director.

The partnership makes both Google and TARC’s data available to the public. This allows developers to manipulate the data to create further programs or applications that may be helpful to commuters, said Mayor Greg Fischer.

But Fischer says the partnership goes further. Through Google, TARC information will be made available to the public and Fischer says this leads to innovation.

“We’re also proving to the public all of TARC’s data that powers Google transit. So this is going to open up a whole world of possibilities for us. This means that any citizen or software developer can download the data and use it to create their own apps.”

Michael Schnuerle has run Metro Mapper for the past five years. The Louisville website helps government data get out to the public to support transparency. He plans on leading a one day transportation workshop in the upcoming weeks. The entrepreneurs will work with Google and TARC data to develop innovated apps, he said.

“We’re going to try to, at the camp, come up with more ideas and come up with execution on how to bring some of these ideas to life quickly,” said Schnuerle.

Fischer says the region will pursue real-time technology with Google. And he says passengers will eventually be able to track the location of buses on a particular route.

The partnership was at no cost to TARC.