Monday, November 30, 2009

OneBusAway Winter of Code 2009

OneBusAway is open-source software. One of the reasons that I went the open-source route was to give the community the opportunity to help improve OBA themselves. When we notice something annoying with the tools provided by our local transit agencies, there is often not much we can do to fix them, except send an email and wait. However, with open-source tools, we can pull up our sleeves and fix what bugs us directly.

And it works. I've accepted patches from fellow developers that have extended and improved the functionality of OneBusAway in interesting ways. However, as the OneBusAway code-base gets more complex, it can be a little intimidating for new developers to join in. Where should they start?

In order to address this issue and get more people involved in OneBusAway development, we're announcing the OneBusAway Winter of Code 2009. Similar to the Google Summer of Code, we've identified a number of tasks, both large and small, to get developers started with hacking on OneBusAway.

Here's a chance to put your code hacking skills to use for the good of the community: by helping improve the usability of public transit.

If you are interested, you can find more details here:

http://code.google.com/p/onebusaway/wiki/WinterOfCode2009

The sign-up deadline is Wednesday of next week, December 9th.

If you've ever been frustrated waiting for the bus, here's your chance to make a difference.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For Those of You Without iPhones

First off: to those of you with iPhones, thanks for downloading the app and for all the great reviews. We've had over 2,700 downloads in the first week and a ton of 5-star reviews. Thanks for all the support!

Now, for those of you without iPhones: I've gotten a number of comments from people asking me when the Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Pre, Nokia, etc version of the OneBusAway app is going to launch. While I would love to write native apps for all these platforms, the reality is that there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to make it happen. While some other developers ARE working on native apps for various other platforms (see a list here), I'm going to be taking a different approach that should hopefully be useful for a larger number of platforms.

Specifically, I'm writing a smarter, mobile-optimized web-app that should have most of the same features as the native iPhone app (maps, geolocation, bookmarking, filtering, better search, etc) but run in a web browser. The real key here is that enough mobile browsers are finally starting to support geolocation (GPS, etc) within the browser (see this list of supported platforms), meaning we don't have to write a mobile app for each device.

While a mobile web-app will never be quite as polished as a native app, I think the experience should still be pretty good. Plus, it's much easier for me to quickly add features to a web app that everyone can enjoy without a two-week wait for even simple updates to the iPhone native app.

Now, normally I prefer not announcing a new feature until I've actually written it, but I'm spilling the beans because I've committed to having a demo ready for a late October conference deadline, so I might as well commit to the rest of you as well ; )

Any comments? Feedback?

Service Revision Bugs

A number of you have let me know of various bugs in the data from the latest service revision (route 174 should be removed, misnamed stops, bad schedules, etc). However, the biggest issue by far is that real-time arrival data is missing for a number of routes and trips (some 12+% of trips are affected) .

The problem is that AVL data from King County Metro and schedule data from King County Metro are currently mismatched for a number of routes. I've been in talks with KCM and I'm hoping to get the issue resolved on their end ASAP. In the meantime, I'm going to try to hack together a temporary work-around to be put in place later tonight.

Specific routes that are probably affected:

1, 2, 5, 7, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 36, 37, 42, 49, 54, 55, 76, 77, 106, 118, 119, 124, 174, 984, 994, 995

Sorry for inconvenience. Be glad this only happens three times a year!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

King County Metro September Service Revisions

I just pushed the King County Metro September service revisions to OneBusAway. This should hopefully bring everything up to date for the changeover this weekend and fix a few bugs people have found in the current schedule.

However, I've already noticed some new bugs with the new schedule data. If you find any of your own, please let us know.

I'd also point out that Link Light Rail schedule data was included with the update. Metro calls it the 599, so be on the lookout. You can look at the full route here. Sadly, I don't yet have real-time arrival data for Link (bu I am working on it!), so you'll have to settle for static schedule data for now. I'm curious how the schedule matches up with actual train operation. If you are able to compare, please let me know what you find.

P.S. Note that the iPhone app isn't using the new schedule data yet, but I will push the update to that tomorrow night.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

OneBusAway Native iPhone App

I'm very excited to announce that the OneBusAway native iPhone app has been accepted by the Apple iTunes App Store!

Goto the Apple iTunes Store to download the app

Features include:
  • Real-time arrival arrival information for public transit.
  • Map display of stops and routes.
  • Nearby stops search for location-aware devices.
  • Bookmarks and recent stop history.
  • Search for stops by route, address, and stop number.
  • Did I mention that the app is FREE?
It's everything you love about OneBusAway and your iPhone in one happy package. I've been using the app for a month or two now and I think it has really made transit that much easier to use.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the beta-testers who tried out that app and provided feedback. Special thanks to John Jensen for his contributions to the app and my advisers at UW for not kicking me out of school for working on OneBusAway ; )

You can find more details about the application at our app support page:

http://onebusaway.org/where/iphone.html

If you have any issues with the app, definitely let us know.

The app is also open-source. Want a new feature added? Take charge and write it yourself. Check out the project page for more details:

http://code.google.com/p/onebusaway-iphone/

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

OneBusAway Survey

Help us understand how you use OneBusAway. Take a quick survey for a chance to win an iTunes gift certificate.

Take the Survey

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Feature: Simple Arrival Notification - Looking for Feedback

A common usage scenario for OneBusAway is sitting at your computer, trying to decide when you need to leave to catch the bus. Checking the OBA page for your stop gives you a good idea of when your bus will arrive. However, things get tricky if you check too far ahead of time. The predicted arrival time can change while you are waiting and, unless you are glued to the OBA stop page, you might miss the important fact that a bus that was running 5 minutes late a while ago is now back on schedule. Time to run for the bus!

To help with this situation, we've added a simple notification service to OneBusAway and we're looking for your feedback. The new feature isn't live on the main site yet, but you can try it out at:

http://alpha.onebusaway.org/

Specifically, you'll notice the OBA stop page has changed (click for a larger version):

Real-Time Arrival With Alarm Notification

There is now an alarm-clock icon next to each arriving bus. Click on it to get a notification alarm screen (click for a larger version):

Real-Time Arrival With Alarm Notification

The interface is pretty simple. Tell us how many minutes before the arrival of your bus that you want to be notified and specify either a sound or a popup alarm. So that you don't have to change these values every time you use the tool, you can save your settings for specific stops or set defaults for all stops. Just leave the window open in the background and it will periodically check on the predited arrival of your bus and notify you when the time is right.

And that's it. The notification is nothing fancy, but it's enough to grab your attention if you are easily distracted on the Internet (like me) and forget to check on the status of your bus.

As I mentioned, I'm looking for people to try out the feature and give me feedback before I push the feature to the main site. Comments on this blog entry, over email (bdferris@onebusaway.org) or through Twitter (@onebusaway) are much appreciated.

Note that we are working on fancier notifications like SMS, IM, email, Tweets, iPhone Push, etc but that it's not at the top of the work queue at the moment. If you want to vote for your favorite notification method, feel free to vote in the comments.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

May 30 Service Revisions and Broken Real-Time Tracking

King County Metro schedule service revisions went into effect this morning. Read all about the changes here:

http://transit.metrokc.gov/up/sc/rideralert/ra-052009.html

OneBusAway has been updated to reflect the service revisions. Unfortunately, real-time tracking is no longer working as result. The issue is that we get our real-time feed from http://mybus.org/ and not directly from King County Metro. KCM has properly updated their tracker feed, as seen by new Saturday bus service in the tunnel:

http://trackerloc.kingcounty.gov/avl.jsp?id=332

MyBus has not been updated and is still showing no bus service in the tunnel:

http://mybus.org/metrokc/avl.jsp?id=332

Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy fixes for this problem. I can either keep the updated schedule data and have no real-time data, or rollback to the old, outdated schedule data but have some real-time info. Either way, I'm hoping MyBus is upgraded this weekend so I don't have to make any hard decisions before the Monday morning commute.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The State of OneBusAway Address: Explore

Ever wondered about a great Italian restaurant that easy to get to from your house by bus? Looking for a park to visit with your kids that's less than 20 minutes away using transit, but requires no transfers? How about looking for all the places you can live that are less than 45 minutes by bus for your daily commute?

Answering questions like these can be tricky using tools like Google's Trip Planner and almost impossible using plain old bus timetables.

We launched a new feature on OneBusAway about a month ago without much fanfare, but we think it might have a big impact on the way you use transit. It's called the OneBusAway Explore tool and it literally answers the question that is our namesake: what can I get to that's just one bus ride away?

The idea is simple. Enter a search: for example, mexican food. Enter your starting location: try your home address. Press go and watch as we determine all the places you can get by bus in 20 minutes or less and then do a local search using Yelp to find what you're looking for within your transit horizon. Try it youself:

Mexican Restaurants Near My House in Bryant

The results look something like this:

Mexican Restaurants

Of course, the sky is the limit. You can restrict your search by time of day, how far you wish to travel, number of transfers, and walking distance. More importantly, you can search for anything that Yelp includes in their review database, which includes everything from restaurants and doctors offices to parks and florists. When you've found something you like, we you the upcoming trip planner results so you know how to get there.

I encourage you to check out the tool and let us know what you think. In the meantime, check out this map of all the places you can get to in less than one hour from downtown Seattle at 5 pm:

Transit Travel Distance - One Hour - Seattle Downtown

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why did you ride the bus last weekend?

Normally, there is a pretty regular pattern to OneBusAway usage. Most of our traffic comes from daily commuters, with the bulk of the traffic coming during the weekday and then droping off during the weekend.

People Don't Use OneBusAway on the Weekends

But last weekend was different:

Except When They Do

There was no weekend drop-off. I wonder why?

The bulk of the traffic was direct visits, which usually indicates people who regularly use the site and have their favorite stops bookmarked. So it wasn't a link from a blog that brought lots of new visitors...

My best guess is that Seattle Green Fest was last weekend. Perhaps all you transit-friendly folks were taking the bus downtown to learn more about the latest in green living?

That's my theory. Why did you ride the bus last weekend?

Monday, March 30, 2009

The State of OneBusAway Address: Introductions

It's been a while since our last blog post, so I'd like to mention some exciting things that have been going on in OneBusAway land. There are actually too many exciting things to be contained in one lonley blog post, so stay tuned for a few follow ups in the near future regarding what we've been working on.

But first... what do I mean by "what we've been working on"? When I talk to people about OneBusAway, I always tend to say "we've been working on this" or "we're planning that", at which point my friends ask just who this "we" is. For the most part, that "we" has been me. However, I'm happy (and embarrassed that I haven't done it sooner) to introduce my newest partner-in-crime in this transit hacking endeavor.

I'd like to introduce Kari Watkins. Kari is a grad student in the Civil Engineering department at University of Washington. Kari does research on understanding why people do and don't take transit with the goal of getting more people to switch to a friendlier mode. That is to say, Kari actually studies mass transit, has worked in industry, and can speak knowledgeably about transit issues. I can claim no such thing myself, so it's obviously awesome to have Kari aboard. More importantly, I've personally seen Kari cruising around Seattle with her two girls in tow on both bike and bus, so I'm willing to argue that Kari is even more committed to this whole mass transit thing than I am.

Kari also gets credit for the OneBusAway name. Kari, along with Evan Siroky, had worked on a class project at UW to build a tool that let people search for nearby restaurants, parks, grocery stores, and other amenities that could be easily reached using mass transit. They called the system One Bus Away. I met Evan at a Seattle Transit Blog meetup in March of 2008, where he mentioned the project. I told Evan that I'd like to help work on the project, but I think he had already moved on to other transit hacking endeavors.

At that same meetup, Evan mentioned who I could contact at King Country Metro to get a dump of their transit database. That data dump lead to my work on real-time arrival tools and when it came time to launch a few months later, I couldn't help but notice that the http://onebusaway.org/ domain name was available. I bought, I launched, and OneBusAway as you know it today was born.

What I didn't know is that while Evan was no longer working on the original One Bus Away class project, Kari was. When she went to purchase the http://onebusaway.org/ domain name herself, she was dismayed to find that it was already taken. At this point, Evan put Kari and I in touch. I think Kari was rightfully a little skeptical of me at our first meeting, since I had effectively stolen her project name. However, we quickly realized that with my computer science skills and Kari's transit skills, we could accomplish a lot more working together than either of us could individually. Also, I promised to build Kari a real, kick-ass Web 2.0 version of her original One Bus Away concept to make up for misappropriating the OneBusAway name. How could we go wrong?

I'm proud to say that we haven't. You may have noticed a new feature of OneBusAway: the Explore tool. The Explore tool is just what Kari and Evan envisioned so long ago: the ability to search for nearby restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and other local features that area easily accessible using mass transit. For example, if I ever wondered what great mexican restaurants I can get to in less than 20 minutes by bus from my house, now I know.

As I mentioned, Kari and I have some pretty big plans in store for OneBusAway, which I look forward to telling you more about. As for now, I just wanted to welcome Kari aboard. I can say we have some big plans now, and truly mean it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

OneBusAway Database Problem

OneBusAway was down for about two hours this evening. The database server we use at UW went down and we temporarily transfered to a local database in the meantime. The UW server came back up around 9:30 pm and we're now back using the main DB.

I will have to give some thought to database fail-over.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Snow Postmortem

In case you missed it, it snowed yesterday. As you might imagine, this played havoc with Metro and was basically a replay of the December Snowpocalypse in miniature. It is, of course, ironic that OneBusAway set a new single-day traffic record on a day when the underlying tracking data was most suspect. We appreciate the links from Seattlest and even the Seattle Times (our first official mention by a Seattle newspaper) that made it happen.

In the Seattle Times piece, there is a quote from King County Council Member Dow Constantine (and candidate for King County exec?) that rang true:
"Given the increasing sophistication of modern phones and wireless Internet providers, I encourage Metro to take immediate action to use instant messaging, Twitter, neighborhood blogs, and customer self-reporting systems to keep Metro operators and riders connected."
Hmm... if only there was someone working on a set of tools that made it easier for people to find the status of their bus using a variety of phone and web devices. Say hello to OneBusAway. Specifically, we are looking to integrate real-time service alert disruption information into the system so that when you call in on the phone, it lets you know that your bus has been delayed, rerouted, or canceled completely.

In fact, OBA actually already has this feature; we added it for the last snow event. We can set routes as rerouted or canceled in the system and you will get an appropriate warning with both the web tools and the phone system. The problem is knowing which buses are rerouted.

It's pretty clear that Metro's Transit Service Status page is not an accurate reflection of what's going on in the field and it's not hard to see why. With 100s of buses live in the field at any given time and only four radio channels for communicating with dispatch, there is not enough bandwidth to get accurate reroute information and road conditions from buses to dispatch and back, let alone get accurate information from that communication up on a website.

What you get instead is confusion. I live NE of the University District and routes like the 30, 65, 68, 74, 75, and 372 provide the bulk of the coverage for my neighborhood. I watched yesterday morning as buses serving these routes each put their own personal spin on how to handle the snowy conditions. Some buses took their appropriate adverse weather reroute while others boldly soldiered on their normal route. The net result is that even when riders know the adverse weather plan for their route (that's a big if), riders had no way of knowing if the next scheduled bus would be sticking to its normal route or taking its reroute.

There are technological solutions to detecting reroutes. GPS is obviously the first choice and Metro has plans to put GPS on all buses. However, given the current budget situation for Metro, I am less than hopeful that they can make it happen in the next year or two. Given the coverage of radio beacons in our current real-time positioning network, it's actually possible to detect most reroutes using the current tech on the buses. However, it would take some hacking.

However, I'd argue that this isn't a technology problem but instead a policy problem. Being able to detect reroutes using technology is actually of little use if there is no consistency in rerouting from one trip to the next for a given route. Riders really don't need to know if the current bus is on reroute, since it's often too late to walk to a different stop if the bus is doing something different than what they expected. Instead, riders really need to know if the bus coming 30 minutes from now is on reroute, since that will help riders plan which stop they need to walk to. Unfortunately, no amount of technology will help us predict what a driver is going to do in the future.

However, technology might help us tell the driver what to do in the future. Metro currently doesn't have the radio capacity to communicate with all the drivers in the field, but many drivers carry cellphones. Much like OBA allows riders to call in to get real-time arrival information about what their bus is doing, we can imagine a similar system that allows drivers to call in and get real-time information about what their bus should be doing. With a little bit of software glue in the background, Metro could more easily manage feedback from drivers, determining which routes should be on reroute, and then pushing that information to drivers in an automated way. It would reduce the amount of human intervention required in the system and be pretty cheap to build. Pretty cool, huh?

It's pretty clear that there are a lot of interesting technical solutions that can make it easier for drivers, transit agencies, and riders to effectively communicate what is going on in chaotic situations like a snowy morning commute. While we can never fix the fact that it's just plain hard to drive in the snow, there are a lot of things we can and should be doing to make everything else easier.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snow Event

For the latest updates, check out the OneBusAway twitter feed.

It snowed this morning, which means your morning commute is likely not going to be a bundle of sunshine. The first victim seems to be the Metro Tracker feed, which as of 6:50 am, seems to have gone off the rails. See http://trackerloc.kingcounty.gov/avl.jsp?id=316 for an example, where every route is either no-info or 45 minutes late+. I can't tell if the tracker is broken, or all those routes just aren't running due to adverse weather cancellations. The Metro adverse weather page only lists two routes on re-route at the moment (http://transit.metrokc.gov/up/rr/adverseweather.html), but if the last Snowpocalypse event is any indication, it's not clear this webpage is updated in a timely manner.

For a gentle introduction on why the bus tracker doesn't work well in the snow, check out http://code.google.com/p/onebusaway/wiki/AdverseWeatherReroutes.

Friday, February 13, 2009

We Tweet

Did you know OneBusAway is on twitter? Check us out at at http://explore.twitter.com/onebusaway.

They say that Twitter is what you make it, so we've mostly been using it in a customer service fashion. Specifically, we keep tabs on mentions of OneBusAway on Twitter and try to respond when people are having problems. We also occasionally post service notices when things are down or wonky and it's not worthy of a full blog post.

In the future, we'd like to add services notifications about temporary route changes and other issues using Twitter. Either way, we're just as new to Twitter as anyone else, so it'll be interesting to see how it all evolves.

"The actual time of arrival of buses is different from the calendar, even in a law-abiding American."

Thanks to the UW News article and press release from last week, OneBusAway has gotten some major press and new traffic this week. I've done interviews with Q13 and KOMO TV, KIRO and KOMO news radio, and it looks like I will be on KUOW's The Conversation next Wednesday at noon along with Kari. Exciting stuff.

The article was even translated into Russian! The translation back to English by Google is pretty hilarious as well (see this post's headline for an example). Either way, just call me Брайана Ферриса (I think).

All this press has also meant a crush of new users. We easily beat our busiest traffic day from the Snowpocalypse of 2008:

We Get Traffic

We're also approaching 1,000 phone calls answered a day and I think we'll easily break the 30k total phone calls answered since launch next week.

Mostly I'm just happy OneBusAway hasn't crashed under the increased load. There were and still are some issues with the Feb 7th service revision I'm trying resolve, but the transition seemed to go mostly ok. Just like last September's service revision, I happened to be out of town for the transition, which made thing a little tricky (September was my honeymoon in Iceland... last weekend was DC with friends).

Either way, I welcome all the new users to the site. I hope you find it useful.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Feb 6th Schedule Bug

My apologies to anyone who had a "No scheduled arrivals in the next 30 minutes" message show up this morning when there were clearly buses on the way. There was a scheduling bug in the database having to do with this weekend's service updates by Metro that made it look like no buses were in action today.

I fixed it a few minutes ago. Let me know if you have any issues.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

OneBusAway mentioned in University Week

We had a nice article about OneBusAway written up in University Week, the faculty and staff newspaper of the University of Washington. Check it out.

3rd Avenue Heartache

I've gotten a couple complaints about OneBusAway sometimes missing buses downtown. The bus will arrive at the stop like it's supposed to, but there will be nothing listed on OneBusAway. Pretty frustrating, I agree. It's taken me a while to track down the issue, but I figured I'd try to describe what is going on.

The short of it:

For routes that enter downtown as one route and continue from downtown as another route (an interlined or through route, according to my more transit savvy friend), the transit database from Metro that feeds OneBusAway often defines that change-over happening in a different place than where is happens in practice on the actual bus. Often OneBusAway is actually listing the bus you care about, but it's labeled as some other route that you wouldn't normally recognize.

I'm working on a fix, but it's a pretty complex issue. For now, I'm working to identify all the routes where this is an issue. If you know of a specific route where this is an issue, feel free to let me know in the comments.

The long of it (only real transit nerds may want to read past this point):

Consider route 26 heading from downtown to Greenlake. You can see the route map here:

http://onebusaway.org/where/standard/index.html#m(route)route(26)block(NORTH)

The 26 serves four major stops along 3rd ave: Yesler Way, Columbia St, Seneca St, and Pike St. You can see the full schedule for the 26 at 3rd and Pike here:

http://onebusaway.org/where/standard/schedule.action?id=578 (this page take a while to load...)

There are a huge number of trips for the 26 at 3rd and Pike. Now compare that to 3rd and Columbia here:

http://onebusaway.org/where/standard/schedule.action?id=538

There are hardly any trips for the 26. What's going on? If we look at the 4:05 pm trip at 3rd and Pike:

http://onebusaway.org/where/standard/trip.action?id=10741093&stopId=578

We see that the trip starts at 3rd and Pike, but is preceded by Route 42:

http://onebusaway.org/where/standard/trip.action?id=10741258

So this is what is happening. A large number of outbound 26's from downtown are actually inbound 42's that switch to 26's along 3rd Ave. According to Metro's transit database, that switch happens at 3rd and Pike, after the bus has already passed the other stops along 3rd Ave. The problem is that this is not what actually happens in the real-world. When that 42 pulls onto 3rd Ave, the driver has already switched the bus' sign to read Route 26. In addition, all the stop kiosk signs along 3rd Ave list the 26 as well. For example:

Stop # 538

It actually make sense that the 42 should change into the 26 before it goes down 3rd Ave, since all the commuters are looking for the 26 to take them home. If they had to remember that the 42 is going to switch into the 26 in a few stops, it'd be mostly confusing.

Ok so after all that exposition, here is the real problem. Even though the buses and stop kiosks along 3rd Ave are doing the "right" thing, the database does not match what's going on in reality. Thus, when a rider looks at OneBusAway at 3rd and Columbia to figure out when their 26 is going to arrive, OneBusAway will not mention the 26 but instead will list the 42. The rider is confused and thus bad things.

To make matters worse, it's only a problem for some of the 26s. If the 26 isn't preceded by a 42, it actually does the right thing and is listed as the 26 for the full length of 3rd Ave in the database.

This is not just a problem with the 26. A number of routes do a similar thing of changing route signs right before they get on 3rd, where the database shows them changing at the end of 3rd.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Real-Time Tracking is Down

Real-Time tracking is currently down. Specifically, the internal tracking feed from MyBus is currently not responding. In addition to taking our real-time tracking down, it also appears that MyBus urls are not responding (for example: UW Campus Hub).

I've sent emails to appropriate parties, but it's out of my hands to fix this issue at this point. Here's hoping it's resolved sooner rather than later.

Update: Tracking seems to be back up as of 10:40 am.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bug # 100

I always like to highlight the big milestones for OneBusAway. That includes bugs.

I just entered Bug # 100 in the tracker. It deals with tracking errors for the 26E headed downtown from Wallingford. Not sure what's going on there... but I have plans to fix it. I also have plans to fix the other 27 open bugs currently floating around in the tracker. But just like your bus, fixes may come a little bit later than any of us would like.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Perils of Operating a Service People Use

I was waiting at a bus stop a few weeks ago and I was describing OneBusAway to some fellow UW students waiting at the stop with me. "That's awesome!" the exclaimed, and they immediately tried calling up the phone number to see the service in action.

Of course, the phone service wasn't working.

As luck would have it, the phone service was down for some reason. Restarting Asterisk fixed the problem, but the damage was already done. It was pretty embarrassing because (a) things were broken and (b) I had no idea.

In fact, there have been a number of times when a polite email or even a tweet was my first indication that all was not well in OneBusAway land. While I definitely encourage anyone to let me know if they are having issues with OBA, I'm happy to announce I'm taking more proactive measures from now on. I've now got a basic Nagios installation up that monitors the various services that make up OneBusAway and automatically sends out emails and text messages when things go wrong.

And while things are green across the board for now:

Green is Good

Things will invariably go bad. Hopefully I'll be one of the first to know about them now ; )

Monday, January 12, 2009

15k+ Phone Calls

Wow... according to the logs, One Bus Away has answered over 15,000 phone calls since July. Only 225 of those were me ;)

I realize it's probably time for One Bus Away to get an official privacy policy and data retention policy. I need to give this some thought, but if you'd like to comment, add something to:

http://code.google.com/p/onebusaway/issues/detail?id=95

Monday, January 5, 2009

Phone Service Outage

The phone service was down this afternoon for some amount of time. Restarting asterisk seems to have fixed it though. It's only Jan. 5th and I've already blown my chance at five nines of uptime in 2009.

Adverse Weather Reroutes

You may have now noticed that OneBusAway is now displaying a 'snow' message next to some routes:



A route gets a 'snow' message if it's listed on the table at:

http://transit.metrokc.gov/up/rr/adverseweather.html

Unfortunately, I'm updating OneBusAway manually at this point, so there may be some lag between Transit's website and mine. I'm working on some automated tools to help that process, but they probably won't be ready any time soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day Schedule Bug

Like the Zune, OneBusAway is having its own scheduling problems to ring in the New Year. If you are using the service today, you'll immediately notice there is no real-time arrival info available for any of the routes. This has to do with a scheduling bug between MyBus on OneBusAway.

Officially, Metro is on Sunday scheduling for the New Year's holiday and OneBusAway accurately reflects that. Unfortunately, MyBus still seems to be on regular weekday scheduling. See for example:

MyBus New Years Day

The 74E shouldn't be running today, but it's still listed by MyBus. Unfortunately, developing a work around on my end is non-trivial and probably won't happen by the end of the day, at which point the problem will no longer be an issue. Fortunately, the next holiday service day is July 3rd (Independence Day observed) so hopefully we can get it worked out by then.