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