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Query: What's Your Dream Transportation Tool?

What online transportation tool do you wish existed for the region? Think of what might help you better understand transit issues or improve your commuting experience. Examples on our site are the taxi calculator and the traffic incidents map.

Send us your ideas and later we'll hold a vote for readers to select their favorite. Either respond in the comments below or email us at

Once we get your input, we'll see about building the best ideas.

By Mike McPhate  |  January 28, 2009; 1:08 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Driving , Metro , transit  
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A tool that could provide driving directions (like google maps) that would take into account up-to-the-minute traffic, construction, traffic light patterns, rush hour restrictions, and weather conditions to provide the best route for the exact time you are looking for. Even better if you could text your Start and End locations and have the directions sent to you via text (with all above stipulations intact.)

Posted by: can6 | January 28, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

wifi in the metro system.

Posted by: pprettyman | January 28, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Accurate bus arrival times like they have in Virginia:

Posted by: informedtraveller | January 28, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - meant to say accurate bus arrival times available free by web and text message like they have in Virginia:

Posted by: informedtraveller | January 28, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

It would be very helpful to have a database containing every bus stop in the metro area, with the exact location of each stop.

WMATA's "Service Nearby" feature is a start, but it doesn't allow you to search for all stops on a given line, nor does it specify which bus lines only run on certain days at certain times, which would be helpful to know. It is also hard to tell exactly where a particular bus stops (there could be four different stops near any given intersection, each servicing different lines).

Such a database could also have detailed information on each stop, perhaps something like this:


Northbound side of Fernwood Road
- Metrobus J2 to Montgomery Mall
- M-F 5:00 AM - 1:00 AM
- Sa 5:00 AM - 1:00 AM
- Su 5:00 AM - 1:00 AM
- Ride-On Bus 26 to Montgomery Mall
- M-F 5:30 AM - 12:00 AM
- Sa 6:00 AM - 12:00 AM
- Su 6:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Southbound side of Fernwood Road
- Metrobus J2 to Silver Spring
- M-F 5:00 AM - 1:00 AM
- Sa 5:00 AM - 1:00 AM
- Su 5:00 AM - 1:00 AM
- Ride-On Bus 26 to Glenmont Station
- M-F 5:30 AM - 12:00 AM
- Sa 6:00 AM - 12:00 AM
- Su 6:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Posted by: Tybsnowman | January 28, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Another idea with the bus system (albeit only partially an online solution) would be to give each individual stop a unique name based on nearby landmarks. Although this would require new signs for every single stop (at least in its full implementation), this idea would make it much easier to locate a particular stop and would make it exponentially easier to cross-reference with an online tool. It would also make the automated bus announcements much simpler and shorter (think "South White Flint" instead of "Rockville Pike and Edson Lane").

We do this with our Metro system; why not do it with our bus system? Who knows, it might even make riders feel like they're riding an actual transit system rather than a neglected bus line...

Posted by: Tybsnowman | January 28, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Google Transit. It would combine data from the many different transit systems in the area into one tool that's already familiar to people all over the U.S. Transit directions are provided in the same interface used by drivers to get directions, so it's possible to compare options and maybe convert some drivers to transit. But since local bus systems are designed in large part to get people to a Metrorail station and supplement Metrobus, it's not much good without Metro's participation.

Posted by: jchapline1 | January 28, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Correction: people all over the world already use Google Transit.

Posted by: jchapline1 | January 28, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Just agreeing with some of the above comments. I would really like accurate next bus information, and exact locations of bus stops.

Actual bus maps (using Google maps or something similar), instead of big pdfs, would also be useful.

Posted by: oceanchild | January 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Didn't BMW pilot a navigation system that took into account the speed of other BMWs driving on nearby highways when giving directions? I remember there were some privacy concerns when it first launched but haven't heard anything about it since. Probably because I drive a Hyundai.

Posted by: chris4096 | January 29, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I will agree with others in that the NextBus system needs to be brought back and fully implemented. Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing when (if ever) the next bus will come. If they can get it working in other cities, they should be able to get it working here.

And having MetroBus participate in Google Transit would be nice too... Right now when I ask for transit directions within DC, it dutifully gives me directions using MTA commuter buses when I simply need a local MetroBus to take me to my destination.

Posted by: tj722 | January 29, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Where's the BUS!!??? Install NextBus at each bus stop!

I once waited for MORE than an HOUR for an "L" bus -- there were NO traffic backups and this was a WEEKDAY -- just LAX Metrobus service.

Waiting for the #16 bus at Pentagon City during evening rush hour can sometimes take on nightmarish proprtions-- what's up with Metro, huh??

Posted by: bronxace | January 30, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

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