Back on December 7th, 2005 Google unveiled The Google Transit Trip Planner. The personal urban planning tool is essentially a transit mashup of Google Maps and the local transit authority in each city. At the time this tool was first introduced it was only available for Portland. Today this Google Maps based transit tool is, as promised, rolling out to more US cities. These cities include:
- Tampa, Florida (HART)
- Honolulu, Hawaii (TheBus)
- Eugene, Oregon (Lane Transit District)
- Portland, Oregon (TriMet)
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Port Authority)
- Seattle, Washington (King County Metro)
Google Transit Trip Planner enables you to enter the specifics of your trip - where you're starting, where you're ending up, what time of day you'd like to leave and/or arrive - then uses all available public transportation schedules and information to plot out the most efficient possible step-by-step itinerary. You can even compare the cost of your trip with the cost of driving the same route!
There is a great FAQ that will help you make further use of this tool as well. Perhaps this tool will one day become a part of the core Google Maps service (Maps, Directions, Businesses... Transit). Another natural progression for a service like this would be toward Google Maps for Mobile..
Other coverage and perspective on this can be found on Search Engine Journal, KOMOTV News, and the The Pittsburgh Channel.
Other Transit Planning Tools (Not created by Google itself):