Get ready to go down a transit rabbit hole.
Last time we wrote about the crapfest that is 511.org, one of our commenters placed blame on military contractors. So we dusted off our Encyclopedia Brown magnifying glass to see just what's behind one of the noisiest, user-unfriendliest, pedestrian-discouragingest, bicyclist-overlookingest websites in town.
The short answer: our local 511.org (just like five-elevens all over the country) is largely a project of the highway industry and, yes, the military industrial complex. Few of the involved parties have any interest in getting people out of their cars, or into buses, or onto bikes, or even worse, onto their own feet. The result: a service that prefers cars over mass transit, and even over commuters themselves. For 511, car is king.
Let's look closer at how this sad state of affairs came to be. But be warned: we're going to go into some painfully specific transit wonkiness. If you think you've got the fortitude, just feast your eyes on the coma-inducing title of our centerpiece document: "511 Implementation and Operation Guidelines Version 3.0."
Now, if you haven't run screaming to the hills, let's proceed.