A dialog of thoughts and ideas about software, usability, and products, with random science and wacky ideas thrown in for good measure.



("Steal My Idea" shamelessly stolen from Jeff Chausse)

I use the Catch the Bus app to figure out when I can expect to be on a warm ride before my 20-minute wintery walk around the pond to work. We've had so much snow lately that some roads are reduced to single lanes, and high piles of snow make turning corners very difficult and risky. Traffic has been really slow! This wreaks havoc on apps like Catch the Bus, which must use the GPS location of buses combined with the approximate speed limit of a street to tell you when the bus is coming.

I could see the next bus a half mile down the road, and it was quite clear that the slow traffic would delay this bus by another 3 minutes, despite Catch the Bus telling me I had < 1 minute to wait.

Here's the idea that I want somebody to steal: with the GPS coordinates, you know where the buses are, and given two GPS coordinates and time, you know how slow the traffic is moving. Remember how slow the traffic is moving for segments of roads, and use that value to determine approximately when the next bus is coming.

That's it. Use real-time speed data to predict the arrival time for a bus, instead of relying on a static value for road speed.
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