Thursday, February 20, 2014

Announcing StopInfo!

We are excited to announce the launch of StopInfo! StopInfo is a new service linked with OneBusAway for the Puget Sound region that provides detailed information about bus stops. Our initial focus is on increasing the accessibility of bus stops for people who are blind or visually impaired. Knowing information ahead of time about a bus stop, such as which side of the intersection it is on and what type of bus sign it has, can reduce the time and hassle it takes to find the bus stop. This information also includes landmarks surrounding the bus stop, such as shelters and trash cans. We are excited to partner with the community to not only increase access for people who are blind or visually impaired, but for anyone who may be looking for an unfamiliar bus stop. We look forward to expanding this project to provide information about other facets such as wheelchair accessibility.

The best part about the launch is that you use OneBusAway on iOS, you can help! The starting information about bus stops comes from King County Metro’s database, but the system can also show more detailed information than is available from Metro. This detailed information can be verified or added to by anyone. So while you wait at the bus stop, you’ll be able to check to make sure the information provided is accurate and to add information about other helpful landmarks in the area. Any OneBusAway user can verify information without an account, but to add information, we request that you be logged in using your Google or Facebook account. (We don’t keep passwords or anything like that – we just use the “OpenAuth” service to let Google or Facebook authenticate your login.) Furthermore, users can contribute other helpful information like closed or moved bus stops, or whether a stop is well-lit for when you're traveling at night. 

To get to StopInfo, once you are at the page that shows arrival times for a stop, press the “i” (information) icon at the upper right (as shown below). VoiceOver users can access this button, called "About this Stop" after the stop name.


This button will take you to a view where you can see information about the stop (as seen below) and nearby landmarks. You can verify or add information by tapping the “Verify or add stop information” link near the bottom of this page. To log in, tap, the “Log in with existing account” link at the bottom. We’ve also extensively tested the interface using VoiceOver for blind riders.



For now, StopInfo is only available for the iPhone and only for King County Metro. You can discover this new feature by downloading the newest version update (2.2) in the App Store on iOS. We hope to expand both to other platforms and to other regions in the future!

StopInfo has been developed by UW Computer Science & Engineering students and staff Cindy Bennett, Caitlin Bonnar, Meg Campbell, and Aengus McMillan, with advice from Alan Borning. Many thanks to our partners at Metro for providing the initial database of information! Detailed research study information is here: http://stopinfo.pugetsound.onebusaway.org/. For questions or feedback, please use our contact form at http://stopinfo.pugetsound.onebusaway.org/contact_forms/new.