Transit Stop Virtual Tour

So you've decided to use public transit, which you're not very familiar with, and you just walked off a bus or train.  Now where do you go?  Which is the best walking route to your destination?  Which route passes by places you would like to see?  Many of your questions can be answered when you plan your next trip on public transportation using a transit stop virtual tour.  Having such a virtual touring system in place can help transit agencies attract more people to public transportation.

We've been in that same place; we've used public transit systems around the World and we've planned ahead of time by reading maps and instructions and used automated trip planners on many transit systems.  However, nothing prepares you better than actually seeing what different places and neighborhoods look like through pictures and video and having such images related to a map.

Whether you are using BART in the San Francisco Bay Area and wish to seek out Italian cuisine at North Beach, visiting the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC by using WMATA or checking out the ruins of the Roman Empire in Rome starting at the Termini station.  We've done that and a lot more in many cities.  It is from this experience that we've thought up the concept of creating transit stop virtual tours.

The virtual tours we develop to help people plan their travels on public transit revolves around a map of the transit system.  Train stations and bus stops that have had virtual tours developed showcasing the surrounding region and places of interest show up on the map as icons which users can click on.  Once a user clicks on an icon, a pop-up balloon appears showing a virtual tour that the user can watch immediately.  The user can also click on a link which displays a webpage describing detailed information about what there is to see around that station or stop.

Applications include using virtual tours for promoting tourism and helping with ADA (American Disabilities Act) efforts.  In cities like New Orleans and San Francisco, virtual tours can help tourists learn what there is to see at different stops and how to walk to those sites.  With the new 2015 ADA ruling, reasonable modifications/accommodations, transit agencies will now have the requirement to prove ADA accessibility to bus stops.  Virtual tours can visually show and point out to patrons with special needs the access paths to bus stops.

Transit stop virtual tours can also generate revenue for transit agencies.  Since each stop has a different webpage to display the virtual tour and an optional live timetable, advertising can be added to the page for users to see.  Internet advertising services, such as Google Adsense, can be utilized to automatically generate revenue.  Appropriate textual content can be added to a stop's webpage to automatically attract proper ads that match businesses nearby the stop.

Another way that advertising revenue can be made is by utilizing a special Google map.  The map used on the virtual tour can be configured to allow users to search for businesses located near a stop.  The map not only lists the closest business that matches the user's search criteria, but also plots where they are located on the map.  If the user clicks on any of the businesses, advertising (pay-per-click) revenue is received by the transit agency.

We have developed demonstration projects for two different transit agencies.  A full-scale project is still in the planning and funding stage.

One agency, the Victor Valley Transit Agency (VVTA), needed a way of visualizing terrain and features immediately surrounding their bus stops.  That way, VVTA riders and staff can see what is located around their bus stops.  Riders, especially ones with disabilities, can see where certain features are located so they don't have to hunt for them after they arrive.  Staff can instantly lookup what is around a bus stop for planning purposes.

Another agency, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), was looking for different ways to attract more people, such as tourists, to public transportation.  We developed a transit stop virtual tour system which showcases regions around several rail stations along Metro's Gold Line, which runs between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena.

You may preview either of these virtual tour systems here:

If you would like to learn more about our transit stop virtual tours, please Contact Us.

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