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Google Transit Graduates from Google Labs

Published: Expires: 11/25/2007

The popular Internet search engine, Google, has launched its official "non-beta" Google Transit "Trip Planning Feature" to its web-site on October 3, 2007, and Duluth MN is one of 19 U.S. cities on board:

Google added the Duluth Transit Authority to its "Transit Trip Planner" feature last December, as part of its "work-in-progress" initiative to provide this service to riders of public transit in cities across the country. Last December, Duluth was only one of nine cities online with Google’s Transit Trip Planner. Now there are 19 U.S. cities onboard with Google Transit: Burbank, CA; Orange County; CA, Humboldt, CA; San Diego, CA; Thousand Oaks, CA; and San Francisco/Oakland (Bay Area), CA; Duluth, MN; Las Vegas, NV; Reno, NV; Tampa, FL; Honolulu, HA; Portland, OR; Eugene, OR; Pittsburg, PA; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Hampton Roads, VA; and Seattle, WA.

Google Labs launched its Transit Trip Planner in early 2006 with Eugene OR and continued to operate the service in test "beta-mode," until recently. Many more public transit systems in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia are expected to get on board Google Transit in the future.

Google engineers worked with DTA staff last year to obtain GPS data along with routing and scheduling information necessary for integration into Google’s trip planning service.

Google Transit Trip Planner can be accessed on Google’s website or at

How to use Google Transit Trip Planner (DTA riders)

DTA riders will find this Google feature very helpful in planning bus trips. The Google Transit Trip Planner asks for:

  • The address you wish to depart from
  • Your final destination
  • Your desired arrival and/or departure time(s)

Several trip options will also be listed. Google Transit Trip Planner, however, will work only if you live inside the city limits of Duluth, Superior or Proctor.

The Google Transit Trip Planner displays a map of the Twin Ports and displays the requested DTA trip from start to finish. The map can be viewed in either a graphic or satellite mode.

The Transit Trip Planner gives riders detailed information about the trip, such as:

  • What bus to take
  • Where to catch the bus
  • How long it will take to walk to the bus stop
  • Where to transfer and which bus to transfer to, if needed
  • How long the bus ride will take
  • Cost of the bus ride (Google only uses peak hour fares)
  • Comparable cost of driving car from start to finish

How Google Transit Trip Planner Began

Google has a policy known as "20 percent time." Google engineers all have "20 percent time" in which they're free to pursue projects they're passionate about. So a few Google engineers from San Francisco, New York, and Zurich - all of whom regularly use public transportation - decided that being able to easily plan local transit trips without having to go to multiple websites, would be a useful product. So they devoted their "20 percent time" to building Google Transit Trip Planner. As the project developed, their small team quickly grew as more and more "twenty-percenters" got on board the Google Transit project.

According to DTA Marketing Director Tom Elwell, "The Twin Ports is fortunate to be included on Google Transit Planning service. We're the smallest market on board with Google Transit and the cost of the service is free. It's a great public service! Thanks to Google, planning trips on the DTA is easy - especially for new riders and those who haven't been on a bus in a while and are wondering if the DTA will work for them today."

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