Google may create transit maps for NYC

Google is working with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit to create an online guide to NYC public transit, which would serve up maps, schedules and trip planners, Bloomberg reports.``We are always looking for ways to incorporate technology in what we do,'' Jim Redeker, assistant executive director of New Jersey Transit, said in a telephone interview from Newark.

Google is working with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit to create an online guide to NYC public transit, which would serve up maps, schedules and trip planners, Bloomberg reports.

``We are always looking for ways to incorporate technology in what we do,'' Jim Redeker, assistant executive director of New Jersey Transit, said in a telephone interview from Newark. Google has ``good experience at making this work.''

There might be a little upside in the deal for Google. U.S. companies spent about $922 million last year to place ads alongside local searches and maps, an amount that will triple to $2.61 billion by 2011, according to researchers.

New Jersey Transit plans to share maps and schedules with Google as part of a pilot program to post more information about the system on the Web, Redeker said. MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin confirmed the New York agency is also working with Google Transit.

With Google working with multiple agencies, users may find online transit planning a more integrated affair.

``Customers don't care what agency is running what, they just want to know how to get from one door to the next,'' said Allison de Cerreño, director of New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management.

Transit agencies put online transit information with varying degrees at success -- and users typically have to figure out how to navigate various sites. Because most people are familiar with Google search and maps, users may appreciate a standard interface to overlapping agencies routes.

``Most people know Google,'' said Cerreño, who walked more than 20 blocks to her job when she came to New York two decades ago because she was daunted by the subway. ``That's actually a very powerful way to get the information in one place, in a way that most people are familiar with.''