By this time next year, KRT riders will be able to use Google to plan transit trips, whether across town or across the county.
The KRT board of directors voted Thursday to spend $10,000 to have the entire KRT system documented, mapped and uploaded to Google Transit.
Google Transit allows users of Google Maps or its related smartphone and tablet apps to instantly plan trips and obtain directions using local transit services.
"They were very excited about it," KRT Assistant General Manager Doug Hartley said of the KRT board members.
The project will be performed by Marshall University graduate students in conjunction with the Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute in Huntington.
The students will make note of the GPS coordinates of every bus stop in the KRT system and map every bus route. The data will then be uploaded to Google.
Google then uses that data to map out directions that include the use of public transportation.
For example, for a hypothetical trip from the West Side to the State Capitol, Google Transit would provide walking directions to the nearest bus stop, provide the route name and time of arrival for the next bus, tell riders where to get off the bus and then provide walking directions to the destination. Google Transit also provides transfer information, if necessary.
If routes change, the data on Google can be changed, too.
Hartley said KRT has a long-term goal of providing real-time scheduling for its riders. He called the addition of Google Transit a good "first step."
In addition, the ability for riders to instantly find the arrival time for the next bus and know where to wait for that bus should boost KRT's ridership numbers, Hartley said.
"If we make it easier for people to ride our system, more will try out system," he said.
In West Virginia, Amtrak and several transit systems are already incorporated in Google Transit, including PanTran in Martinsburg, Buckwheat Express in Preston County, Mountain Line Transit and the PRT in Morgantown and some routes that are served by the Fairmont-Marion County Transit Authority. MARC commuter rail, which serves Berkeley and Jefferson counties, also is included in Google Transit.
Near the Mountain State, Allegany County Transit in Western Maryland and Graham Transit in Bluefield, Va., are also incorporated in Google Transit.
Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.
Copyright 2013 - Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.