Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

live bus status from the AATA

30. December 2006 • Bruce Fields
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Scott has the scoop:

They have released a way to track the buses from the AATA website. You choose a route and AATA tells you the most recent timepoint, the status (behind or ahead of schedule), and the next timpoint, for both ingoing and outgoing buses.

See the full article for more details and a Q&A with the AATA’s IT manager.



  1. Wow – this will be a great service once it’s fully rolled out. I just checked the ahead/behind schedule info on Route 1 and was told “Data not available at this time.”

    Being able to tell whether a bus is ahead of or benind schedule will remove a significant barrier to increased usage.


       —David Cahill    Jan. 1 '07 - 02:35PM    #
  2. It has already been deployed…the message you’re seeing is because the buses don’t run on New Year’s Day! :)


       —keaz    Jan. 1 '07 - 10:24PM    #
  3. While I’ve already listed my appreciations and gripes in the link above, I’ll restate my main conclusion that after repeatedly checking the status of a bunch of routes, the worst I’ve seen is 4 minutes behind and the average is probably less than 1 minute either way (granted that, due to time difference between Bangkok and AATA, I don’t check evening rush hour). AATA reports being about 95% on-time and the new function supports that claim. On the downside, this isn’t really useful information for somone trying to catch the bus. On the other hand, if you arrive a couple minutes early you can pretty much count on getting picked up within 5 minutes.

    I sure would like to see AATA set this info free, via RSS, XML or whatever so that others could play with it and come up with their own (possibly more useful) tools. Maybe they don’t want to predict arrival times for bus stops, but that shouldn’t stop carfree ann arbor, arborupdate, or others from taking a shot at it.


       —Scott TenBrink    Jan. 3 '07 - 03:32AM    #
  4. Scott, I’ve written a (tiny) bit of code that scoops out the relevant route status information and dumps it and just it as plain text. I’m not quite sure what the ideal format is yet, though I suspect that for me at least the right approach is to try to build something that’s reachable from a mobile phone. Happy to share with anyone.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Jan. 3 '07 - 06:07AM    #
  5. posted what I have here:

    http://monkey.org/~emv/therider/wheresthefive.py

    12 lines of code, definitely not complete in any way, but it may be a useful starting point for someone else.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Jan. 3 '07 - 06:19AM    #
  6. I wait 20 minutes or longer for the #3, despite being on time, at least one out of every ten commutes, so I think this will be helpful.


       —ann arbor is overrated    Jan. 3 '07 - 03:54PM    #
  7. Because the URL that currently get echoed to the location box after choosing a route is just the naked asp, it might not be apparent to users that
    it’s possible to bookmark or link a specific route using the following pattern:

    http://www.theride.org/rideguide.asp?route=1

    Route 1

    Use upper case alpha for 12A and 12B.


       —HD    Jan. 3 '07 - 05:59PM    #
  8. Post [7] originally included the following paragraphs. When I deleted them, I stopped getting the “Precondition Failed” error. Deleting one word at a time led me to the conclusion that the word “echo” is especially problematic.
    ——————-

    The connecting route links at the bottom of the results do, in fact, echoe the complete URL, bookmarkable for a specific route.

    Setting up results that are delivered after choosing a route from the drop down menu to work the same way would be an easy improvement.


       —HD    Jan. 3 '07 - 06:05PM    #