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RE: [minciu_sodas_en] Call for ideas for making sense of transit system performance

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  • Shannon J. Clark
    Andrius, A quick note. 1. I d be interested in helping to some degree if I can (and as you know I m here in Chicago) 2. As a rider of the CTA nearly every day,
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 7, 2003
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      Andrius,
       
      A quick note.
       
      1. I'd be interested in helping to some degree if I can (and as you know I'm here in Chicago)
       
      2. As a rider of the CTA nearly every day, I have noticed a few things.
       
      A. They have gotten much better in the past few years, and are now able to give out a fairly accurate schedule if you check online or over the phone. (www.transitchicago.com)
       
      B. "Bunches" of buses is not always a bad thing from a rider's perspective - typically it means that buses will then to a degree alternate stops, especially in the morning and afternoon rush hours there is clearly so much demand that without many buses traveling closely together, people at stops in the middle of the routes would NEVER get picked up as the buses would be completely full. Bunching means that even if one or two buses pass you by completely full you do not have to wait long for one that has room.
       
      C. At least on the routes which I have used in the past year, I have never encountered a wait beyond what was published as the probable wait (i.e. the longest I have waited was about 10-15 minutes, typically less, even when riding late at night on infrequently traveled routes).
       
      D. Buses and trains have a number of complex questions in terms of their scheduling. One is "how long do I have to wait at the stop to get on a bus" - but that is only a SMALL portion of the bigger question a "real" rider has to ask, which is "how long will it take me, wait(s) and walks included to get from where I am to where I have to be?
       
      This last question gets complicated, as in much of Chicago you typically have more than one route of public transit you can take, different El and bus combinations with more or less walking and transfers included.
       
      The challenge in looking at the overall picture is what do you measure to reflect this? Further, since you currently have to go online or call the CTA to get any idea of bus schedules, how can a typical rider make these judgments?
       
      Part of the complication comes from the behavior of your fellow riders - if you get on a nearly full bus, it may basically be non-stop until the area most people get off (typically the loop or other major transit stop). If you get on a full el, however, it normally still makes all the stops (but fewer stops than most buses).
       
      In modeling this behavior I would suggest that network techniques be looked at, to see if it is possible to build up a model from the data that maps change over time (perhaps graphically something akin to "where are the buses and els at the moment")?
       
      In looking at how to improve investment in public transit in Chicago I would suggest the following questions be looked at.
       
      1. (the easy stuff) - what are the major complaints of frequent CTA users? of infrequent users? of non-users? of out of town/tourist users? (bus users who don't benefit from the CTA card programs as much as they would like, lack of change machines in el stops, odd scheduling quirks on certain routes, areas poorly served at particular points in time?)
       
      2. Are there any easy, ideally already budgeted for, ways of addressing these issues?
       
      3. Fundamentally the CTA has many routes which (at least to a rider's eye) are highly profitable and heavily used, while there are other routes which are underserved and/or underused. (and whole areas of the city without owl coverage for example)
       
      Anyway, hopefully this is helpful.

      Shannon
      -----Original Message-----
      From: minciusodas [mailto:ms@...]
      Sent: Monday, July 07, 2003 4:27 PM
      To: minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [minciu_sodas_en] Call for ideas for making sense of transit system performance

      Please help us come up with a plan how we might help citizens assess
      government performance, and in particular, evaluate the performance
      and standards of the Chicago Transit Authority.  What could we do, as
      a laboratory, for $10,000 a year?  What might we do, as investigators,
      for $1,000, or for $200?  Andrius, http://www.ms.lt
      -----------------------------------------------------------

      Joe Damal is one of our very first lab members.  He is a community
      organizer in Chicago, and in 1999 organized the very first funding
      that we ever got for an investigation, "Did you ever change your
      mind?" for the Chicago Public Schools Youth Outreach Program.
      http://www.ms.lt/mindchange.html

      He is now working at the Campaign for Better Transit
      http://www.bettertransit.com/ which is not-for-profit initiative that
      improves life in Chicago by campaigning for increases in the quantity
      and quality of investments in public transit.

      Early this year, Joe asked me, as a mathematician, to take a look at
      some formulas they had come up with for measuring bus reliability.  In
      Chicago, the bus system claimed that buses are 90% on time.  But
      riders reported that surprisingly often, two or more buses would
      arrive at the same time.  This means that there can also be huge gaps
      between buses, which is called "headway".  So the Campaign for Better
      Transit clocked some routes and made a study.  I was able to come up
      with a different way of interpreting the results.  I noted that if 10%
      of the time a bus is half an hour late, then the question for the
      rider is whether they can afford to be late 10% of the time.  Probably
      not if they are going to work.  So that means that they need to go out
      an extra half-hour early EVERY DAY because they can't rely on the bus
      coming on time.  I showed how to draw a graph that would compare
      how-often-I-can-be-late with how-early-do-I-need-to-show-up.  Then Joe
      got us $500 for working openly to build a database for collecting and
      analyzing this data, and we are doing that at
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thinkingsensitively/

      We have found ourselves at the cutting edge of "making sense of
      government performance".  So we are set to organize people interested
      in developing measures that help us understand, for example, the
      perspective of the bus rider, rather than that of the bus dispatcher.   

      Joe has shown us there is a lot of opportunity here.  Now he has asked
      me to come up with a budget for our laboratory, what we might
      accomplish for $10,000 a year.  I imagine that optimally I would like
      to spend this so that:
      - $5,000 is for me to lead this and fly down to Chicago and work from
      there for a couple of months.
      - $3,000 = 3 x $1,000 for our members who are investigating something
      related that can generate momentum.
      - $2,000 = 10 x $200 for our members who can likewise generate
      momentum through projects, observations, insights.

      So I am looking for your ideas, what are investigations and projects
      that you or others might conduct that would directly or indirectly
      improve the quality of life by enhancing the Chicago transit system.
      Feel free to think more broadly, and then his letters below give more
      specifics.  I am especially looking for work that we are already doing
      for free, or inclined to do so, but could be relevant here.  For
      example, William Wagner is writing a book on how our environment
      affects us, and we affect our environment, the interplay between the
      two.  I encourage him to pursue that at our lab as an open
      investigation.  And as he does this, I think we may see synergy with
      the transit system, because certainly here also we have the kind of
      interplay that interests him, and that is very important for quality
      of life.  Suhit's investigation of ambulance friendly cities may also
      lead, I think, to some kind of synergy.  So I want to build on what we
      want to do for free anyways, and apply that.  My wish is to hire us
      based on the work we are doing for free, but pay us primarily to work
      as organizers.  This is very important for the integrity of our
      laboratory, for getting profound results and building strong
      relationships. Note, this is just one opportunity, and I continually
      work to develop others, and they can overlap.

      If we have good suggestions (and they can be creative and wild) then I
      will ask for $15,000, with $5,000 for me, $5,000 = 5 x $1,000 for our
      investigators, and $5,000 = $25 x 200 for projects.  If you are from
      Chicago, definitely speak up, but you do not have to be.  We are
      looking for a team that can draw from both local and global
      experience, and that can leverage all manner of connections.

      I hope you might be inspired to write, that you and/or I and/or others
      might do good work, and that the people of Chicago might benefit, and
      others around the world.

      Andrius

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      http://www.ms.lt
      ms@...

      -----------------------------------------------------

      Dude,

      What would you do with 10 grand if CBT had that in the budget to pay
      MS?  It would have to be geared toward citizen assessment of
      government and evaluating CTA performance and standards.  In the next
      six to eight weeks we will be asking our largest funder to renew our
      grant and I?d like to put something very specific about MS in our
      grant request.  Your work to date has been well received and I?m
      pretty sure I can wrangle a more formal, and lucrative, role for MS.

      A few things to be aware of:

          * Heavily stress your academic credentials; my boss considers this
      really important.  I know a number of  members of your lab have
      advanced degrees and their contributions should be included in your
      proposal   
          * If you could handle data entry on your end.  This is kind of a
      practical point.  I?m assuming that if you could offer people work
      merely doing data entry that would be useful as long as they are paid
      a better than average wage.  I?m assuming this kind of thing would be
      cheaper in Lithuania, or wherever, than paying someone in Chicago.
      Most of this would involved imputing data into a CTA budget database
      that you might want to design
          * How should we develop an understanding of the CTA budget.  The
      aforementioned data base would be one tool but what would that look
      like, and what kind of info would we need?  You can see what
      information the CTA provides in their budget documents online at
      transitchicago.com

      Could you get me, in the next week or two, a two or three page
      proposal regarding what kind of work you'd be willing to do for CBT?
      I'll then keep you posted on how things proceed.

      Hope you are doing well, the data base looks good.  Is it too much to
      ask if we need all the kinks works out in the next three weeks?  We
      want to start rocking and rolling on the data inputting.  Let me know
      your projected timetable for this is but things in general seem to be
      progressing nicely.

      Joe


      ----------------------------------------------------

      Hi Joe,

      Thank you very much for your letter.  (Although, judging from the
      title, I almost thought it was spam, you know I get many "URGENT
      BUSINESS PROPOSAL"s nowadays).  But I guess you don't send spam.

      I will respond here because one of my first goals would be to expand
      our group, find people around the world who are interested in "making
      sense of government performance" or however else that might be
      expressed.  I'm very glad for this whole direction that you are
      pointing us in.  I will try to start on that next week.  Also, I will
      write that proposal.

      Yes, we could do everything from data entry to programming to
      analyzing to modeling.

      Some thoughts that come to mind:
      - Bringing together a working group of people around the world (some
      of them quite distinguished) interested in creative approaches to
      "making sense of government performance" with special attention to
      public transit.
      - Find public transit enthusiasts around the world (and especially in
      Chicago) who might convey, as bloggers, how riding the bus, etc. fits
      into their quality of life, and the adventure of life.  Shoot, they
      could be poets or writers.  This would help make us sensitive to what
      is the good, bad and ugly of public transportation.
      - In particular, there is a high-tech trend called "moblogging", which
      is mobile blogging, which includes taking photos, etc. and putting
      them on the web.  See http://joi.ito.com/ I think we could get some
      interest in the connection between moblogging and the life of people
      in motion.  Also some nice attention to the variety of neighborhoods
      in Chicago.
      - I'm looking at part of the budget, it's a PDF file, we may be able
      to strip out the data without data entry (although whatever is
      simplest), but certainly we could put it in a database that was
      publicly available and could be analyzed in a variety of ways.
      - We might be able to do that with budgets from other cities in the
      United States and around the world.  And previous budgets from the CTA.
      - We might provide tools for analyzing such budgets, looking for
      relationships between how money is spent and what kind of satisfaction
      results or not.
      - It would be really cool if we could come up with a theory that shows
      the connection between the quality of life issues for the riders, and
      the issues that drive the operation of the bus system, and in what
      sense can we measure and improve that connection, and how do we go
      about that.

      So this coming week I will look for people who might be interested,
      and what kind of stuff people are looking at, and put together that
      two to three page proposal for you. 

      Question: What is the time frame for doing the work, would it be for a
      year?

      Also, I will polish up the database system.  Thank you for the schedule.

      If you have thoughts you can send here, or excerpts from your letter,
      or the whole thing, that is great.

      Joe, I'm glad where on your mind.  It would be very cool to do some
      ambitious stuff for you.  These are just some first thoughts.

      Andrius

      --------------------------------------------

      Dude,

      I talked to my boss about budgeting money for MS in our next proposal
      and she seemed cool with it, so we are eagerly awaiting your proposal.
      I know you?re busy but please try and send it ASAP, because we want
      to submit our proposal to the Sloan Foundation in early August.  Also,
      when you send the proposal please include your Curriculum Vitae and
      the CV of anyone else that would be involved.  Include any
      Universities you and the others are affiliated with.

      Also. my boss is really enamored with hi tech shit, evidently so is
      the Sloan foundation.  She is toying with the idea of getting hand
      held computers for the work we do in the field.  Instead of recording
      the data on bus reliability on paper then entering the data into a
      computer, she thinks it would be great if the collectors had hand held
      computers with which to directly enter the data.

      I'm not so sure the convenience would justify the expense but if you
      can think of another use for these machines, or whatever other high
      tech equipment would be useful, let me know.

      Things here are going well, if you discount the United States slow
      slide toward fascism.  I guess if people are comfortable they will
      accept anything.  I might as well go out and buy myself a bunch of
      brown shirts.

      Enjoy your travels,

      Joe

      --------------------------------------------

      Dude,

      I'm thinking 10,000 per year for three years although I might be able
      to get more if the boss likes your proposal.  Whatever it may be I'll
      try and get you crazy 2nd worlders as much cash as possible.  Then I'll
      become very callow and throw it in your face, start complaining that
      you're leaches and such.

      You mentioned how you get a lot of spam in the form of 'urgent business
      proposals".  You should see the shit I get.  The other day I got an
      email from, alledgedly, Lagos, asking me to set up an account for some
      government agents.  Its one of those things that falls in the category
      of 'if you think its too good to be true....." I'll forward the letter
      to you just so you can have a chuckle.

      Joe

      --------------------------------------------

      Hey Joe!

      Firstly, let me thank you for that Nigerian letter.
      You know, I think I figured it out, why all these letters. 

      The logical explanation is that a tiny fraction of these letters are
      actually real.  (Which is still quite a lot in a big country like
      Nigeria).  So they send all these extra emails through the Internet as
      a cover.  That way, nobody could ever suspect the real ones.  The
      government could never find them, there are so many fake ones.

      Thinking bigly.

      Oh, yeah, secondly - I will share your previous letters with our
      general discussion group, so I can get input.  Is Friday soon enough?
      I will try to call you.

      Andrius

      --------------------------------------------------------

      Dude,

      Firstly, allow me to thank you for responding so quickly.

      Secondly, Friday is fine and dandy.  Are you going to actually call or
      email.  If you are going to call give me an approximate time.







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    • minciusodas
      Shannon, Thank you for your ideas! It is very helpful, and so are letters from David Kaminski and Richard Cayzer which I include below. Very stimulating!
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 8, 2003
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        Shannon, Thank you for your ideas! It is very helpful, and so are
        letters from David Kaminski and Richard Cayzer which I include below.
        Very stimulating! Thank you! Andrius, http://www.ms.lt
        -------------------------------------------------------
        [From David Kaminski, presumed copyright]

        Andrius:

        Hello.
        I am interested in this idea, and although I have nothing novel or
        exciting, I thought I'd like to "riff" on the topic for you...

        1.
        Handheld GPS are getting very cheap. Organizing riders to monitor the
        movement and speed of buses seems fairly easy. Could a person get an
        update on his/her bus on a cell phone, to know whether it is late or
        early? Get an alert that it is coming? Would that rider pay $1 a month
        for the service? (That might ensure that it is a self-sustaining
        private enterprise.)

        1a.
        Along the same lines as GPS, but instead, the bus(or a rider) carries
        the transmitter. A "barcode" or signal at each pole indicates its
        arrival and departure. Would some technology like that be any cheaper?
        More effective?

        1b.
        Again, another signal system. The rider may only care to know about
        several stops (or even one) before him/her. What kind of network could
        be established so that other riders or the bus itself could signal its
        arrival so people would have a "countdown" to getting on the bus?

        2.
        What do the drivers say? I am sure they have a solution in very
        practical terms.

        3.
        I think in terms of video. So I would see a small documentary. People
        talking about the problem. Awareness on the local TV channels.
        www.videomachete.org is a very big community organization there. Would
        they do a story? Get people involved? Help bring in funding for the
        project?

        4.
        Cell phones now have video capabilities. Can it be harnessed for any good?

        5.
        People often look to where they see the problem. Maybe the problem
        lies in something less obvious. Are the buses slow in all
        neighborhoods? Is it about community wealth? Community ridership? Has
        ridership changed recently? How often do the bus schedules change? Do
        they accomodate new traffic patterns? New construction? Do they have
        too many local, not enough express service? How does the bus service
        coordinate with the train? How many people use both train and bus? How
        much time does the driver spend collecting money? Is there a faster
        way to collect money? Can they all get on the bus and then pay later?
        Pay as they get off? What if ridership were free? How many people
        would use the bus if it were free? Would free buses eliminate the use
        of cars on some streets, and therefore speed the service? Are there
        "car free" streets? Should there be?

        Just some thoughts. Some good, some not. Cull what you like.
        Hope all is well with you.

        Best,
        David Kaminski

        -------------------------------------------------------
        [From Richard Cayzer, presumed copyright.]

        Dear Sir,

        I understand you are looking for ideas [potential
        investigations/projects to directly or indirectly improve the quality
        of life by enhancing the Chicago transit system]. Thoughts are:

        - Is the correct planning in place within the transit management to
        leverage emerging fuel technology? If not, why not? [my thought here
        is that lobby from oil firms could trickle down and delay adoption of
        cost-effective purchase down the line].

        - Is management matching the size of vehicles to the density of
        commuter usage? (i.e. planning to replace old buses with smaller,
        cheaper, buses.

        - With router technology you can accurately track where a bus is -
        therefore you could investigate whether incentivising drivers to be at
        bus shelters at/until the right time would be advisable/work.

        - I know a company you may be interested in which helps transit
        organisations use GPS so that a 'pop-up' reminder on your desktop will
        tell you when a bus is coming, rather than you having to dash out of a
        meeting for a bus whichis 30min late.


        all the best,

        Richard Cayzer
        UK
      • Blatnik Stanko
        Hello, I think it is simple to have website which will collect data (the sensor system can be GPS or something else) about bus momentarily location and predict
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 8, 2003
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          Hello,

          I think it is simple to have website which will
          collect data (the sensor system can be GPS or
          something else) about bus momentarily location and
          predict when they will be at station which customer is
          interested for.
          The customer can go to internet or wireless device to
          check and get information. I can make a simulation.

          Stanko
          --- minciusodas <ms@...> wrote:
          > Shannon, Thank you for your ideas! It is very
          > helpful, and so are
          > letters from David Kaminski and Richard Cayzer which
          > I include below.
          > Very stimulating! Thank you! Andrius,
          > http://www.ms.lt
          >
          -------------------------------------------------------
          > [From David Kaminski, presumed copyright]
          >
          > Andrius:
          >
          > Hello.
          > I am interested in this idea, and although I have
          > nothing novel or
          > exciting, I thought I'd like to "riff" on the topic
          > for you...
          >
          > 1.
          > Handheld GPS are getting very cheap. Organizing
          > riders to monitor the
          > movement and speed of buses seems fairly easy. Could
          > a person get an
          > update on his/her bus on a cell phone, to know
          > whether it is late or
          > early? Get an alert that it is coming? Would that
          > rider pay $1 a month
          > for the service? (That might ensure that it is a
          > self-sustaining
          > private enterprise.)
          >
          > 1a.
          > Along the same lines as GPS, but instead, the bus(or
          > a rider) carries
          > the transmitter. A "barcode" or signal at each pole
          > indicates its
          > arrival and departure. Would some technology like
          > that be any cheaper?
          > More effective?
          >
          > 1b.
          > Again, another signal system. The rider may only
          > care to know about
          > several stops (or even one) before him/her. What
          > kind of network could
          > be established so that other riders or the bus
          > itself could signal its
          > arrival so people would have a "countdown" to
          > getting on the bus?
          >
          > 2.
          > What do the drivers say? I am sure they have a
          > solution in very
          > practical terms.
          >
          > 3.
          > I think in terms of video. So I would see a small
          > documentary. People
          > talking about the problem. Awareness on the local TV
          > channels.
          > www.videomachete.org is a very big community
          > organization there. Would
          > they do a story? Get people involved? Help bring in
          > funding for the
          > project?
          >
          > 4.
          > Cell phones now have video capabilities. Can it be
          > harnessed for any good?
          >
          > 5.
          > People often look to where they see the problem.
          > Maybe the problem
          > lies in something less obvious. Are the buses slow
          > in all
          > neighborhoods? Is it about community wealth?
          > Community ridership? Has
          > ridership changed recently? How often do the bus
          > schedules change? Do
          > they accomodate new traffic patterns? New
          > construction? Do they have
          > too many local, not enough express service? How does
          > the bus service
          > coordinate with the train? How many people use both
          > train and bus? How
          > much time does the driver spend collecting money? Is
          > there a faster
          > way to collect money? Can they all get on the bus
          > and then pay later?
          > Pay as they get off? What if ridership were free?
          > How many people
          > would use the bus if it were free? Would free buses
          > eliminate the use
          > of cars on some streets, and therefore speed the
          > service? Are there
          > "car free" streets? Should there be?
          >
          > Just some thoughts. Some good, some not. Cull what
          > you like.
          > Hope all is well with you.
          >
          > Best,
          > David Kaminski
          >
          >
          -------------------------------------------------------
          > [From Richard Cayzer, presumed copyright.]
          >
          > Dear Sir,
          >
          > I understand you are looking for ideas [potential
          > investigations/projects to directly or indirectly
          > improve the quality
          > of life by enhancing the Chicago transit system].
          > Thoughts are:
          >
          > - Is the correct planning in place within the
          > transit management to
          > leverage emerging fuel technology? If not, why not?
          > [my thought here
          > is that lobby from oil firms could trickle down and
          > delay adoption of
          > cost-effective purchase down the line].
          >
          > - Is management matching the size of vehicles to the
          > density of
          > commuter usage? (i.e. planning to replace old buses
          > with smaller,
          > cheaper, buses.
          >
          > - With router technology you can accurately track
          > where a bus is -
          > therefore you could investigate whether
          > incentivising drivers to be at
          > bus shelters at/until the right time would be
          > advisable/work.
          >
          > - I know a company you may be interested in which
          > helps transit
          > organisations use GPS so that a 'pop-up' reminder on
          > your desktop will
          > tell you when a bus is coming, rather than you
          > having to dash out of a
          > meeting for a bus whichis 30min late.
          >
          >
          > all the best,
          >
          > Richard Cayzer
          > UK
          >
          >
          >


          __________________________________
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        • minciusodas
          Thank you, Stanko and all, for helping. I am preparing for a phone call with Joe, so I m gathering my thoughts. At his site, http://www.bettertransit.com I
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 9, 2003
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            Thank you, Stanko and all, for helping. I am preparing for a phone
            call with Joe, so I'm gathering my thoughts. At his site,
            http://www.bettertransit.com I found a study they did where the major
            complaint was that the buses are not clean. I think this is a good
            example where it's not just the "government" but also the "citizens"
            who need to play a role. We need to structure the roles so that we
            find the right balance. For example, signs on the bus say that food
            and drink are not allowed, but generally people are not prohibited
            from eating or drinking. This is a convenience, but also a great
            source of trash. Well, why can't there be trash cans in the buses?
            And also at each bus stop? I favor proactive citizenry, but also
            sensible arrangements that encourage thoughtful behavior. And we
            should expect these arrangements to keep changing over time. Andrius,
            http://www.ms.lt

            Overall goal: Making sense of government performance.

            In Joe's words: It would have to be geared toward citizen assessment
            of government and evaluating CTA performance and standards.

            We could focus on: Drawing the connection between quality of life and
            the sensible structuring of roles for citizens and government.
            Setting up feedback loops that constructively link the two.

            A) Bring together creative experts on making sense of government
            performance.
            B) Organize input from riders.
            C) Analyze the CTA budget.

            A) Bringing together a working group of people around the world (some
            of them quite distinguished) interested in creative approaches to
            "making sense of government performance" with special attention to
            public transit.
            * Part of this is a study of the logic of government
            responsiveness: We could come up with a theory that shows the
            connection between the quality of life issues for the riders, and the
            issues that drive the operation of the bus system, and in what sense
            can we measure and improve that connection, and how do we go about that.
            * Heavily stress your academic credentials; my boss considers this
            really important. I know a number of members of your lab have
            advanced degrees and their contributions should be included in your
            proposal

            B) Get input from riders on various aspects of quality of life, and
            develop means to do so.
            * Find public transit enthusiasts around the world (and
            especially in Chicago) who might convey, as bloggers, how riding the
            bus, etc. fits into their quality of life, and the adventure of life.
            Shoot, they could be poets or writers. This would help make us
            sensitive to what is the good, bad and ugly of public transportation.
            * Develop high tech mobile and web tools for people to provide
            information about quality of service, quality of life, etc.
            * Organize people to share their thoughts on such issues, care
            about this in a wide variety of venues, but in particular, on the
            buses themselves.
            * In particular, there is a high-tech trend called "moblogging",
            which is mobile blogging, which includes taking photos, etc. and
            putting them on the web. See http://joi.ito.com/ I think we could get
            some interest in the connection between moblogging and the life of
            people in motion. Also some nice attention to the variety of
            neighborhoods in Chicago.

            C) Joe: develop an understanding of the CTA budget. The below
            mentioned data base would be one tool but what would that look like,
            and what kind of info would we need? You can see what information the
            CTA provides in their budget documents online at transitchicago.com
            * If you could handle data entry on your end. This is kind of a
            practical point. I'm assuming that if you could offer people work
            merely doing data entry that would be useful as long as they are paid
            a better than average wage. I'm assuming this kind of thing would be
            cheaper in Lithuania, or wherever, than paying someone in Chicago.
            Most of this would involved imputing data into a CTA budget database
            that you might want to design
            * We might be able to do that with budgets from other cities in
            the United States and around the world. And previous budgets from the
            CTA.
            * We might provide tools for analyzing such budgets, looking for
            relationships between how money is spent and what kind of satisfaction
            results or not.
            * I'm looking at part of the budget, it's a PDF file, we may be
            able to strip out the data without data entry (although whatever is
            simplest), but certainly we could put it in a database that was
            publicly available and could be analyzed in a variety of ways.
          • Debra Louison Lavoy
            ... Someone else suggested recruiting the bus drivers into this solution. I heartily agree. Do they have radios that they can communicate with? If they could
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 10, 2003
            • 0 Attachment
              At 06:39 PM 7/8/03 -0700, you wrote:
              Hello,

               I think it is simple to have website which will
              collect data (the sensor system can be GPS or
              something else) about bus momentarily location and
              predict when they will be at station which customer is
              interested for.
              The customer can go to internet or wireless device to
              check and get information. I can make a simulation.

              Stanko

              Someone else suggested recruiting the bus drivers into this solution. I heartily agree. Do they have radios that they can communicate with? If they could talk to one another, perhaps they could even out the arrival of buses, notify each other and headquarters of unusually heavy traffic or ridership.

              Someone spoke about finding the root of the problem - is it because the drivers and headquarters aren't equipped to be flexible? Would the transit system allow someone to interview various people  - drivers, dispatchers, management, etc, to start to uncover the problems and solutions?

              Its a great idea to use the web to empower the riders, but its a pretty big hammer to pull out if the buses could self-regulate better and become more reliable.
              - Debra

              --- minciusodas <ms@...> wrote:
              > Shannon, Thank you for your ideas!  It is very
              > helpful, and so are
              > letters from David Kaminski and Richard Cayzer which
              > I include below.
              >  Very stimulating!  Thank you!  Andrius,
              > http://www.ms.lt
              >
              -------------------------------------------------------
              > [From David Kaminski, presumed copyright]
              >
              > Andrius:
              >
              > Hello.
              > I am interested in this idea, and although I have
              > nothing novel or
              > exciting, I thought I'd like to "riff" on the topic
              > for you...
              >
              > 1.
              > Handheld GPS are getting very cheap. Organizing
              > riders to monitor the
              > movement and speed of buses seems fairly easy. Could
              > a person get an
              > update on his/her bus on a cell phone, to know
              > whether it is late or
              > early? Get an alert that it is coming? Would that
              > rider pay $1 a month
              > for the service? (That might ensure that it is a
              > self-sustaining
              > private enterprise.)
              >
              > 1a.
              > Along the same lines as GPS, but instead, the bus(or
              > a rider) carries
              > the transmitter. A "barcode" or signal at each pole
              > indicates its
              > arrival and departure. Would some technology like
              > that be any cheaper?
              > More effective?
              >
              > 1b.
              > Again, another signal system. The rider may only
              > care to know about
              > several stops (or even one) before him/her. What
              > kind of network could
              > be established so that other riders or the bus
              > itself could signal its
              > arrival so people would have a "countdown" to
              > getting on the bus?
              >
              > 2.
              > What do the drivers say? I am sure they have a
              > solution in very
              > practical terms.
              >
              > 3.
              > I think in terms of video. So I would see a small
              > documentary. People
              > talking about the problem. Awareness on the local TV
              > channels.
              > www.videomachete.org is a very big community
              > organization there. Would
              > they do a story? Get people involved? Help bring in
              > funding for the
              > project?
              >
              > 4.
              > Cell phones now have video capabilities. Can it be
              > harnessed for any good?
              >
              > 5.
              > People often look to where they see the problem.
              > Maybe the problem
              > lies in something less obvious. Are the buses slow
              > in all
              > neighborhoods? Is it about community wealth?
              > Community ridership? Has
              > ridership changed recently? How often do the bus
              > schedules change? Do
              > they accomodate new traffic patterns? New
              > construction? Do they have
              > too many local, not enough express service? How does
              > the bus service
              > coordinate with the train? How many people use both
              > train and bus? How
              > much time does the driver spend collecting money? Is
              > there a faster
              > way to collect money? Can they all get on the bus
              > and then pay later?
              > Pay as they get off? What if ridership were free?
              > How many people
              > would use the bus if it were free? Would free buses
              > eliminate the use
              > of cars on some streets, and therefore speed the
              > service? Are there
              > "car free" streets? Should there be?
              >
              > Just some thoughts. Some good, some not. Cull what
              > you like.
              > Hope all is well with you.
              >
              > Best,
              > David Kaminski
              >
              >
              -------------------------------------------------------
              > [From Richard Cayzer, presumed copyright.]
              >
              > Dear Sir,
              >
              > I understand you are looking for ideas [potential
              > investigations/projects to directly or indirectly
              > improve the quality
              > of life by enhancing the Chicago transit system].
              > Thoughts are:
              >
              > - Is the correct planning in place within the
              > transit management to
              > leverage emerging fuel technology? If not, why not?
              > [my thought here
              > is that lobby from oil firms could trickle down and
              > delay adoption of
              > cost-effective purchase down the line].
              >
              > - Is management matching the size of vehicles to the
              > density of
              > commuter usage? (i.e. planning to replace old buses
              > with smaller,
              > cheaper, buses.
              >
              > - With router technology you can accurately track
              > where a bus is -
              > therefore you could investigate whether
              > incentivising drivers to be at
              > bus shelters at/until the right time would be
              > advisable/work.
              >
              > - I know a company you may be interested in which
              > helps transit
              > organisations use GPS so that a 'pop-up' reminder on
              > your desktop will
              > tell you when a bus is coming, rather than you
              > having to dash out of a
              > meeting for a bus whichis 30min late.
              >

              > all the best,

              > Richard Cayzer
              > UK
              >
              >
              >


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              Debra Louison Lavoy
              Cell: 408-218-5778
              Voice: 408-979-9930
              FAX: 408-979-9730
              AIM: DLouisonLav

            • David Ellison-bey
              ... From: Natalie d Arbeloff To: Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 10:37 AM Subject: Re:
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 16, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Natalie d'Arbeloff" <augustine@...>
                To: <minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 10:37 AM
                Subject: Re: [minciu_sodas_en] Re: Call for ideas for making sense of
                transit system performance


                > Dear Andrius,
                >
                > > - Natalie d'Arbeloff and/or Schuy - it would be great to have
                > > Investigation through art!
                >
                >
                > Alas, my tiny brain can only focus on a very few subjects at a time and at
                > present, it's focusing on my own projects. So the problems of buses in
                > Chicago, ambulances in India, blogs in Bosnia, and the multitude of other
                > causes that have appeared in your postings for the past several months are
                > much too much for me to give considered attention to, though I don't doubt
                > their worthiness.
                >
                > My own, perhaps limited viewpoint, is that there is neither the energy,
                the
                > ability or the time in one individual's lifetime to give one's best and
                > achieve credible results in more than one direction. And this direction
                has
                > to be that which one deeply believes in and cares about.
                >
                > I do care deeply about the woes and wrongs in the world but each person
                has
                > a particular role to play in life and the gifts I've been given don't
                > qualify me to be an 'activist' in all the areas which require action. So I
                > just have to plow my little field and hope it will grow some useful food
                for
                > thought, sooner or later.
                >
                > All the best,
                > Natalie
                > http://www.nataliedarbeloff.com/blaugustine.html
                >
                >
                >
                > Each letter sent to minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
                > enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN whenever it does not state otherwise.
                http://www.primarilypublicdomain.org/letter/
                > Please credit our authors!
                >
                > To Post a message, send it to: minciu_sodas_en@...
                > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                minciu_sodas_en-unsubscribe@...
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >Andrius,
                Natalie, You expressed my feelings, so well, I am writing this off the top
                of my head. The reason I am concerned about the caste system coming from
                slavery in the USA, is because it blocks some people from seeking solutions
                to the problems we all have in common. I use to not give advice, but I fine
                my self now telling people to pay their bills and my their own business, in
                the hope that if they do that, they will be able to free up space in their
                minds to apply to other things, such as being active on a board of
                directors, where all such problems can be recorded and committees formed to
                explore them for solutions. I was always toll that the white man wouldn't
                let you do this or that by my associates, even though no white man was in
                our present, yet he, or the idea of him dominated, and made my efforts
                fruitless, even though what I was proposing was legitimate, I don't hear
                that much today. All of us are under some pressure today, just by living in
                this modern society, no matter where we are, I know nothing of the people
                around me, I know we all would like to belong with caring, concerned human
                beings, that we would like to know personally, I have over 1200 e-mail I
                haven't read, mostly because I have other things to do and be interested in.
                We are not going to solve all the problems, but to have an outlook that
                inspire others to use their minds is a gould to work on , and to be content
                that we do our best where we are at. Best wishes,
                Bro.D.Ellison-Bey, Peace.
              • Prem Chandavarkar
                On such matters I have always found the following quotation from Mother Teresa very useful: On cannot do great things, one can only do small things with great
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 22, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  On such matters I have always found the following quotation from Mother Teresa
                  very useful:

                  "On cannot do great things, one can only do small things with great love"

                  Regards,
                  Prem


                  On Thu July 17 2003 11:02, David Ellison-bey wrote:
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: "Natalie d'Arbeloff" <augustine@...>
                  > To: <minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 10:37 AM
                  > Subject: Re: [minciu_sodas_en] Re: Call for ideas for making sense of
                  > transit system performance
                  >
                  > > Dear Andrius,
                  > >
                  > > > - Natalie d'Arbeloff and/or Schuy - it would be great to have
                  > > > Investigation through art!
                  > >
                  > > Alas, my tiny brain can only focus on a very few subjects at a time and
                  > > at present, it's focusing on my own projects. So the problems of buses in
                  > > Chicago, ambulances in India, blogs in Bosnia, and the multitude of other
                  > > causes that have appeared in your postings for the past several months
                  > > are much too much for me to give considered attention to, though I don't
                  > > doubt their worthiness.
                  > >
                  > > My own, perhaps limited viewpoint, is that there is neither the energy,
                  >
                  > the
                  >
                  > > ability or the time in one individual's lifetime to give one's best and
                  > > achieve credible results in more than one direction. And this direction
                  >
                  > has
                  >
                  > > to be that which one deeply believes in and cares about.
                  > >
                  > > I do care deeply about the woes and wrongs in the world but each person
                  >
                  > has
                  >
                  > > a particular role to play in life and the gifts I've been given don't
                  > > qualify me to be an 'activist' in all the areas which require action. So
                  > > I just have to plow my little field and hope it will grow some useful
                  > > food
                  >
                  > for
                  >
                  > > thought, sooner or later.
                  > >
                  > > All the best,
                  > > Natalie
                  > > http://www.nataliedarbeloff.com/blaugustine.html
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Each letter sent to minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
                  > > enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN whenever it does not state otherwise.
                  >
                  > http://www.primarilypublicdomain.org/letter/
                  >
                  > > Please credit our authors!
                  > >
                  > > To Post a message, send it to: minciu_sodas_en@...
                  > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  >
                  > minciu_sodas_en-unsubscribe@...
                  >
                  > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  > >
                  > >Andrius,
                  >
                  > Natalie, You expressed my feelings, so well, I am writing this off the
                  > top of my head. The reason I am concerned about the caste system coming
                  > from slavery in the USA, is because it blocks some people from seeking
                  > solutions to the problems we all have in common. I use to not give advice,
                  > but I fine my self now telling people to pay their bills and my their own
                  > business, in the hope that if they do that, they will be able to free up
                  > space in their minds to apply to other things, such as being active on a
                  > board of directors, where all such problems can be recorded and committees
                  > formed to explore them for solutions. I was always toll that the white man
                  > wouldn't let you do this or that by my associates, even though no white man
                  > was in our present, yet he, or the idea of him dominated, and made my
                  > efforts fruitless, even though what I was proposing was legitimate, I don't
                  > hear that much today. All of us are under some pressure today, just by
                  > living in this modern society, no matter where we are, I know nothing of
                  > the people around me, I know we all would like to belong with caring,
                  > concerned human beings, that we would like to know personally, I have over
                  > 1200 e-mail I haven't read, mostly because I have other things to do and be
                  > interested in. We are not going to solve all the problems, but to have an
                  > outlook that inspire others to use their minds is a gould to work on , and
                  > to be content that we do our best where we are at. Best
                  > wishes,
                  > Bro.D.Ellison-Bey, Peace.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Each letter sent to minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
                  > enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN whenever it does not state otherwise.
                  > http://www.primarilypublicdomain.org/letter/ Please credit our authors!
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: minciu_sodas_en@...
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  > minciu_sodas_en-unsubscribe@...
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

                  --
                  PREM CHANDAVARKAR
                  Chandavarkar & Thacker Architects Pvt. Ltd.
                  7 Palace Cross Road, Bangalore – 560 020, India
                  Tel: 91(80) 334-2101 / 334-1002 / 334-6005
                  Fax: 91(80) 344-2044
                  Mobile: +91-98452-12022
                  Email: prem@...
                • Natalie d'Arbeloff
                  Thanks Prem, for this wonderful quote. I will quote it again on my blog page. And thanks too, David Ellison Bey, for your thoughtful message. And Andrius too,
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jul 28, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Thanks Prem, for this wonderful quote. I will quote it again on my blog
                    page.

                    And thanks too, David Ellison Bey, for your thoughtful message.

                    And Andrius too, of course, for generously remembering me always.

                    All my best to you all,
                    Natalie
                    http://www.nataliedarbeloff.com/blaugustine.html

                    > From: Prem Chandavarkar <prem@...>
                    > Organization: Chandavarkar & Thacker Architects (P) Ltd.
                    > Reply-To: minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
                    > Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 08:59:41 +0530
                    > To: minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: Re: [minciu_sodas_en] Re: Call for ideas for making sense of transit
                    > system performance
                    >
                    > On such matters I have always found the following quotation from Mother Teresa
                    > very useful:
                    >
                    > "On cannot do great things, one can only do small things with great love"
                    >
                    > Regards,
                    > Prem
                    >
                    >
                    > On Thu July 17 2003 11:02, David Ellison-bey wrote:
                    >> ----- Original Message -----
                    >> From: "Natalie d'Arbeloff" <augustine@...>
                    >> To: <minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com>
                    >> Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 10:37 AM
                    >> Subject: Re: [minciu_sodas_en] Re: Call for ideas for making sense of
                    >> transit system performance
                    >>
                    >>> Dear Andrius,
                    >>>
                    >>>> - Natalie d'Arbeloff and/or Schuy - it would be great to have
                    >>>> Investigation through art!
                    >>>
                    >>> Alas, my tiny brain can only focus on a very few subjects at a time and
                    >>> at present, it's focusing on my own projects. So the problems of buses in
                    >>> Chicago, ambulances in India, blogs in Bosnia, and the multitude of other
                    >>> causes that have appeared in your postings for the past several months
                    >>> are much too much for me to give considered attention to, though I don't
                    >>> doubt their worthiness.
                    >>>
                    >>> My own, perhaps limited viewpoint, is that there is neither the energy,
                    >>
                    >> the
                    >>
                    >>> ability or the time in one individual's lifetime to give one's best and
                    >>> achieve credible results in more than one direction. And this direction
                    >>
                    >> has
                    >>
                    >>> to be that which one deeply believes in and cares about.
                    >>>
                    >>> I do care deeply about the woes and wrongs in the world but each person
                    >>
                    >> has
                    >>
                    >>> a particular role to play in life and the gifts I've been given don't
                    >>> qualify me to be an 'activist' in all the areas which require action. So
                    >>> I just have to plow my little field and hope it will grow some useful
                    >>> food
                    >>
                    >> for
                    >>
                    >>> thought, sooner or later.
                    >>>
                    >>> All the best,
                    >>> Natalie
                    >>> http://www.nataliedarbeloff.com/blaugustine.html
                    >>>
                    >>>
                    >>>
                    >>> Each letter sent to minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
                    >>> enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN whenever it does not state otherwise.
                    >>
                    >> http://www.primarilypublicdomain.org/letter/
                    >>
                    >>> Please credit our authors!
                    >>>
                    >>> To Post a message, send it to: minciu_sodas_en@...
                    >>> To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                    >>
                    >> minciu_sodas_en-unsubscribe@...
                    >>
                    >>> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >>>
                    >>> Andrius,
                    >>
                    >> Natalie, You expressed my feelings, so well, I am writing this off the
                    >> top of my head. The reason I am concerned about the caste system coming
                    >> from slavery in the USA, is because it blocks some people from seeking
                    >> solutions to the problems we all have in common. I use to not give advice,
                    >> but I fine my self now telling people to pay their bills and my their own
                    >> business, in the hope that if they do that, they will be able to free up
                    >> space in their minds to apply to other things, such as being active on a
                    >> board of directors, where all such problems can be recorded and committees
                    >> formed to explore them for solutions. I was always toll that the white man
                    >> wouldn't let you do this or that by my associates, even though no white man
                    >> was in our present, yet he, or the idea of him dominated, and made my
                    >> efforts fruitless, even though what I was proposing was legitimate, I don't
                    >> hear that much today. All of us are under some pressure today, just by
                    >> living in this modern society, no matter where we are, I know nothing of
                    >> the people around me, I know we all would like to belong with caring,
                    >> concerned human beings, that we would like to know personally, I have over
                    >> 1200 e-mail I haven't read, mostly because I have other things to do and be
                    >> interested in. We are not going to solve all the problems, but to have an
                    >> outlook that inspire others to use their minds is a gould to work on , and
                    >> to be content that we do our best where we are at. Best
                    >> wishes,
                    >> Bro.D.Ellison-Bey, Peace.
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >> Each letter sent to minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
                    >> enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN whenever it does not state otherwise.
                    >> http://www.primarilypublicdomain.org/letter/ Please credit our authors!
                    >>
                    >> To Post a message, send it to: minciu_sodas_en@...
                    >> To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                    >> minciu_sodas_en-unsubscribe@...
                    >>
                    >> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    > --
                    > PREM CHANDAVARKAR
                    > Chandavarkar & Thacker Architects Pvt. Ltd.
                    > 7 Palace Cross Road, Bangalore ­ 560 020, India
                    > Tel: 91(80) 334-2101 / 334-1002 / 334-6005
                    > Fax: 91(80) 344-2044
                    > Mobile: +91-98452-12022
                    > Email: prem@...
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Each letter sent to minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com
                    > enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN whenever it does not state otherwise.
                    > http://www.primarilypublicdomain.org/letter/
                    > Please credit our authors!
                    >
                    > To Post a message, send it to: minciu_sodas_en@...
                    > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                    > minciu_sodas_en-unsubscribe@...
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    >
                    >
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