However. That's not to say that NextMuni's work would be done. Oh hell no. There's still a boatload of fixer-upperring to be done on that site. (The graphic design alone looks like something we cobbled together with Frontpage in 1997. Compare that to the shiny web-2.0ey goodness of Boston's MBTA.)
So, readers. If this strictly hypothetical upgrade were to happen in the next few days, and you were in charge of getting the word out, designing methods for presenting the new NextMuni data to riders, and generally sprucing up the website, what would you do? What's on your NextMuni wish list? Here's ours:
- Communication. Feedback. Not a form that gobbles up messages and never responds, but a forum for riders to communicate back-and-forth with the NextMuni team. An engineering blog would be ideal.
- A map of where all the LED prediction signs are, and a schedule of when each stop is going to be getting its prediction sign.
- A text-message-based predictor, allowing riders to get arrival predictions for any stop without needing an LED display. At each Muni stop, there'd be a note on the Muni map that says, "For this stop's arrival predictions, text '18th & Castro, East' to 415-Next-MTA." That way, you can get predictions for stops that don't have an LED sign, and you can get a prediction if you're at a store or a bar down the street from a stop.
- It's been said that the arrival times may be "stale" by up to five minutes. If that's the case, the website should let riders know. The NextMuni page has a note below the times that says "Valid as of 4:27 PM Monday, March 5" ... it would be great if the arrival estimates on the map had a similar time stamp, so users know how old the numbers are.
After the jump: Invisible buses, XML-scraping for home brew hacks, and a secret list!