American Community Survey E-Tutorial

The U.S. Census Bureau has designed an e-Tutorial to help users better understand the benefits and uses of the American Community Survey (ACS). The tutorial, which lasts approximately one hour, provides information on the purpose of the ACS, how the ACS works, and how a user can find ACS data using the American Factfinder.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Census Bureau website.

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Snapshot: Quantum GIS

Agencies looking to find low-cost, entry-level GIS applications might find this of interest.

Quantum GIS (QGIS) is an Open Source Geographic Information System that runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, and Windows and is licensed under the GNU (GNU’s Not Unix) General Public License. It supports vector, raster, and database formats.

QGIS has the following features:

1)      View and overlay vector and raster data in different formats and projections without conversion to an internal or common format.

2)      Create maps and interactively explore spatial data with a friendly graphical user interface.

3)      Create, edit, and export spatial data.

4)      Perform spatial analysis using the fTools plugin for Shapefiles or the integrated GRASS plugin.

5)      Publish your map on the internet using the export to Mapfile capability.

6)      Adapt Quantum GIS to your special needs through the extensible plugin architecture.

The information for this post was taken from the Quantum GIS website.

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Smart Phone Apps and Transit Systems

Technology Trend in Transit:

Think you will have to stand in the rain or snow to catch your bus? On vacation and don’t know which route to take? If you want answers to these questions, head over to City-Go-Round‘s website and find a smart phone app that can help.

City-Go-Round, an open source website, provides links to phone apps for U.S. and international public and private transportation systems. Third-party developers have created smart phone apps that allow transit riders to get real-time information as to when their bus or train will arrive. The apps also provide transit system maps and schedules.  City-Go-Round pushes transit agencies to provide their data to enable apps to be created.

Cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have lead the way with digital technology enhancing their rider’s transit experiences. Los Angeles , Philadelphia, Boston, and Orlando are also working to provide the same perks to their transit riders.

City-Go-Round also provides apps for walking, biking, driving, and taking a taxi.

The information in this post was taken from the City-Go-Round website.

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Walk Score launches Transit Score and Commute Reports

Image representing Walk Score as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

On August 16, 2010, Walk Score launched two new tools, Transit Score and Commute Reports, which will help users better understand their transportation options.

Transit Score: Provides a rating from 0-100 reflecting how well a location is served by public transportation. For example, a score of 74 would be labeled “Excellent Transit” described as “Transit is convenient for most trips.” The rating is available for over 30 cities including, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. To find a transit score, please visit the Transit Score page.

Commute Reports: Users of Walk Score can now enter an address they commute to and find information about their commuting options. The report calculates commute times by foot, car, bike, and includes nearby transit routes and stops. If applicable, the report will also include a visual representation of the hills between the two locations. To customize a commute report, please visit the Commute Report page.

Additional tools available on Walk Score:

Home and Transportation Costs Calculator: Based on a user’s monthly housing costs, annual income, and monthly transportation costs, the calculator generates an estimated monthly amount of housing and transportation costs. To learn more about your housing/transportation costs, please click here.

Public Transit API: Enables Web developers to add public transit information to their websites. Real estate companies  can create a map for potential home buyers that includes nearby public transit stops, routes, and the Transit Score of a particular location. For more information, visit the Walk Score website.

Information for this post was taken from the Walk Score website and the August 16, 2010, Walk Score press release.

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Addition of Bike Racks and Lockers at Seattle Bus and Light Rail Stations

-Seattle’s Sound Transit is planning to add 200 spaces for bikes and 173 bike lockers at eleven transit stations and centers around Seattle.

-According to Sound Transit, the lockers can hold one bike and each rack can hold at least eight bikes.

-The bike spaces and lockers will be used by those transit riders trying to connect with buses, commuter and light rail.

-Customers will be charged a $50 annual fee for use of the lockers.

-The lockers and racks will be paid for by federal grants.

Information for this post was taken from the Seattle Transportation Watch blog by Scott Gutierrez.

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