Welcome to the Transit Stop Virtual Tour demonstration project as part of the L.A. Metro Developer Challenge of 2011.
The purpose of the Web Mashup, or "app", that you will see on the next page, is to attract more people to use public transportation. This is a demonstration app and only shows virtual tours for four (4) rail stations along Metro's Gold Line. To experience the app, it is recommended to take the tour of the Sierra Madre Villa Station first. The tour of Memorial Park is the most comprehensive of all the tours.
This app uses the Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data for displaying the current arrival schedule and the shape file that is available to show the path of the Gold Line (and other Metro rail lines). The virtual tours and their accompanying maps, graphics and photography were created by this app's author.
GTFS data was downloaded from L.A. Metro in CSV format. This data was imported into Microsoft SQL Server. The author wrote several SQL queries to obtain a departure timetable for each transit stop that has a virtual tour.
Rail line and rail station data was downloaded from L.A. Metro in ESRI shapefile format. The data was converted to KML/KMZ. The rail line data is displayed on the main map. The rail station data was used to plot the transit stop virtual tour icons on the map.
This app will attract more people to public transit in a number of ways. Occasional transit users, such as tourists or L.A. area residents on the weekend, will use this app to see a preview of where they are planning to visit. By watching the virtual tour, they might feel more comfortable to use public transit and walk rather than using an automobile. Normal commuters might find this app helpful to plan out weekday commutes. Disabled people can use this app to preview the terrain they may encounter after alighting a transit vehicle and the virtual tour will point out amenities and features they may wish to use located around the transit stop.
This app can be built and managed by a third party or a transit agency directly. It is designed to generate revenue by utilizing webpage advertising services such as Google's Adsense. Ads show up on the webpage as well as in the map. Ads are automatically generated based off of the textual content of the webpage and the area shown on the map. Visitors to the webpage can also type in businesses that they are looking for, such as "book shop", "cafe", etc., to list locations near a given transit stop. If the visitor clicks on any of the hyperlinks listed, pay-per-click revenue is given to the entity hosting the website. Transit agencies can host a website such as this app and would naturally help subsidize overall operating costs.
Application developed by Virtual Tours West. Contact Cliff Bandringa for details.