Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DC metro station interior information

On my normal WMATA routes, I (like many other commuters) know where to get on the train so that I end up next to the exit at my destination (this is possible because the trains almost always stop at the front of the platform). But if I'm going to an unfamiliar station I can't shorten the walk at the destination station by walking a bit at my departure station. Knowing the location on the platform of the escalators/stairs/elevators could save time at those stations which only have a single exit on one end. I imagine this type of information would be especially useful for those with impaired mobility. WMATA comes close to providing this info by allowing one to find out about the status of escalators/elevators. It provides and accompanying description (e.g. "Escalator between street and mezzanine") but it's sadly not specific enough.

I've been told that WMATA does have this information digitally so hopefully they'd be able to provide it. Otherwise, the information could be user-gathered. The Washington Post did that with their Metro cell phone service map which had a publicly-editable custom map on Google Maps. Another option would be to have user edit OpenStreetMap. Or possibly one of the smartphone apps (which would benefit from this info) could provide and option for user submitted information). Anyone want to champion one of these options?

(And for the smartphone app developers out there, could you integrate the direction of station exits like StationMasters does? It's a small point but kind of nice.)

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