It may seem strange, but sometimes transit planners wish the software they use to plan bus routes worked a little more like video games. That may be starting to happen.
Planning transit lines in video games like SimCity or Mini Metro is a cinch. You can easily see where there’s demand for new service, whom it will serve and how much it will cost. If you mess up, it’s pretty easy to start over again.
Planning real-life transit routes, in contrast, has nothing like that point-and-click simplicity. In some cases, it can take weeks to figure out the consequences of moving a bus route over by just a few blocks.
But new software that can make designing and changing bus routes in reality more like it is in video games has arrived. It can make life a lot easier for transit planners and has the potential to make it easier for the public to weigh in on potential route changes. And if the new technology catches on with people outside the transit community, it could reshape how people see the relationship between transit and where they work and live.
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