Getting around the Portland metro area gets easier with a new trip planning tool TriMet is testing out. While our existing trip planner on trimet.org combines transit with biking and walking, the beta version of our new planning tool at betaplanner.trimet.org also brings in Uber, SHARE NOW (formerly car2go) and BIKETOWN to make it easier to get where you need to go. The tool uses real-time locations of vehicles and bikes to plan a single trip using a mix of travel options. Currently that includes TriMet buses and trains, Portland Streetcars, Portland Aerial Tram, Uber drivers, SHARE NOW locations and available BIKETOWN bikes, with more to come in the future.
The new trip planner also lets you search destinations using business names and landmarks in addition to streets and addresses. It’s mobile-friendly for use on smartphones, including a map for laying out your trip.
TriMet is a leader in innovation. We were the first transit agency in the world to open our data to the public. We teamed up with Google in 2005 to add transit into Google Maps and create the now worldwide General Transit Feed Spec (GTFS). In 2009, we developed the first open source trip planner (OpenTripPlanner) that combined transit with walking and biking. Now, funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), we have created a tool like none other that lets people plan multimodal trips. That means a single trip where a bus or train may get you part of the way, with Uber, SHARE NOW or BIKETOWN filling in the rest of the trip.
“By partnering with private companies, TriMet makes it easier for people to get to work, school, appointments or any place they need to go in the Portland metro area,” said TriMet’s Manager of Mobility & Location-Based Services Bibiana McHugh. “The new trip planner will help our customers make informed decisions about their travel options, including the first and last parts of their trips where a bus or train alone doesn’t provide full access.”
TriMet has partnered with Uber, SHARE NOW and BIKETOWN to use their current location information in our online OpenTripPlanner platform. Using the real-time locations of our buses and trains along with real-time availability of cars and bikes from these private transportation companies, the tool can piece together single trips using multiple modes. Plan the trip that works best for you — whether you’re in a hurry and transit alone may take too much time, looking to save money over a trip solely using a ridesourcing service or interested in the most convenient option.
If the trip planned includes Uber, the tool links you to the Uber app so you can easily book and pay for that part of the trip. In the future, we hope to make that even easier by combining the planning, booking and paying for all services in the trip planner.
“We believe that ridesharing and transit go hand-in-hand, which is why we’re honored to be a part of TriMet’s new trip planner,” said Uber spokesperson Nathan Hambley. “It will allow riders to more seamlessly integrate and plan end-to-end multimodal trips.”
“Mobility options shouldn’t exist in a vacuum,” said SHARE NOW Portland General Manager Ken Hills. “Partnerships like TriMet’s multimodal trip planner give commuters the ability to choose and combine modes of transportation that work best for their trip, and we strongly believe these collaborations between public and private providers can open up useful new possibilities for people navigating the city. SHARE NOW is proud to work with other mobility services to move Portland – one trip at a time.”
“We believe that this expanded, multi-modal tool will show more and more Portland residents just how convenient, quick, and affordable bike share can be — and by encouraging the use of more sustainable modes of transportation, we all win,” said BIKETOWN Market Manager Dorothy Mitchell. “Congratulations to the TriMet team on this innovative new trip planner. It will truly move our metro area forward.”
TriMet began work on the new trip planner in January 2017, after being awarded a $678,000 Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox grant by the FTA, which was supported by $324,000 of in-kind contributions. The FTA’s MOD Sandbox Program is designed to facilitate local projects that demonstrate innovative tools and approaches. The results of projects like the new multimodal trip planner will provide the public transportation industry with a better understanding of how to adapt to the rapidly changing mobility marketplace.
The new trip planner is designed to be easily replicated by transit agencies in other cities. Since it uses open source technology and open data, including OpenStreetMap, other transit agencies could quickly adjust the trip planner for their system. TriMet then can benefit from improvements other agencies make and incorporate them into our trip planner. The FTA thanks the MOD project sponsors for their pioneering work.