Google Transit: More excessively lengthy intercity itineraries

Google Transit continues to slowly but consistently improve in response to requests from partner transit agencies and end users.  For example, the ability to select a preferred mode and type of itinerary (fewer transfers, less walking, etc.).  See this earlier blog post on this feature.

Still, there are issues that remain.  For intercity transit trips, Google Maps frequently returns long itineraries that could be significantly shortened by walking or driving only a few additional miles.

I’ve posted on this issue before, here.  This blog post shows an additional example as described by Matthew Barnes, the Intercity Program Coordinator at the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Public Transportation division.

Scenario: A potential transit passenger in Redmond, Oregon is using Google Transit to look for transit options to get to Chemult, Oregon. Not knowing anything about the location of available transit services and stops the potential passenger enters Redmond, OR as the trip origin and Chemult, OR as the trip destination.

Google Transit returns a 12+ hour travel option with three different transit agencies and considerable out of direction travel. From this result, clearly there is no “reasonable” transit available between Redmond and Chemult. The potential transit passenger resigns herself to driving alone.

But wait, by shifting the origin by just 2 miles suddenly there is a transit option with no transfers that takes only two hours.  It looks like Google Transit is adding nine and a half hours to this trip in order to save passengers from a two mile trip to transit.

Click an image or link below to see the full itinerary in Google Maps.

Redmond to Chemult, Oregon:

Redmond Airport to Chemult, Oregon (origin is ~2 miles from previous example):

Aaron is the founding principal of Trillium Solutions, Inc. He brings experience that includes 12 years of web-development with 8 years in public transportation, with knowledge of fixed-route transportation, paratransit, rural transportation, and active transportation modes. Aaron is a recognized expert in developing data standards, web-application design, digital communications, and online marketing strategy. He originally developed Trillium’s GTFS Manager, and has played a key role in the development of the GTFS data specification since 2007.