January 29, 2007

Sighed the Rocket...

Toronto Transit Camp '07 is a go!


What is it? Well, as the website explains , it's

an ad-hoc gathering at the Gladstone Hotel of designers, transit geeks, bloggers, visual artists, tech geeks and cultural creators passionate about transit in Toronto and the TTC. It is a platform for Toronto's talented design community and enthusiastic transit users and fans to demonstrate their creativity and contribute to a better way for Toronto's transit system. The content and ideas generated in this open unconference will be delivered to the TTC for their consideration in their work.

The idea for it came up at the TTC website-improvement brainstorming session a few weeks ago, but it quickly took on a life of it's own, in no small way thanks to the leadership of Jay Goldman and Mark Kuznicki. The About blurb over at the website has a bit more on where the idea came from.

If you're interested in participating, you can find out more and register on the registration page. There's more detail about how participants will be drawn through both invitation and open registration here.

Update: Joey "Accordion Guy" deVilla provides an excellent explanation of what's going on and why you should participate.

Even more up-to-date: It's official – the TTC will re-issue their website RFP [Torontoist].

Posted by madhava at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2007

Public Transitery

The Toronto Transit Commission's website is bad, and not in some sort of 80's dangerous and exciting way – just traditional "the opposite of good." It doesn't provide much of what it should and those things that it does offer are difficult to find and often in less-than-ideal formats. They're not being malicious, but they're exposing us all to a numbing mixture of outdated web design and the TTC's oft-discussed lack of focus on user-experience (here and here, say).


On top of this, a couple of recent Google Maps mash-ups, created by individuals who are not billion-dollar organizations, made it pointedly clear, by example, how behind the times and rider-needs the TTC's site is:

A few weeks ago, Robert Ouellette issued a call-to-arms through his Reading Toronto post How Would You Improve The TTC Web Site?, asking TTC-enthusiasts with web and design know-how to weigh in with their opinons.

In response, Jay Goldman convened a group of opinionated people, including, to my delight, me, for a few hours of discussion. He wrote up the result into a thorough and lucid set of recommendations over at the Radiant Core Blog. I encourage you to go have a look.

I'm billed, in the writeup, as a TTC Guru, which is embarrassing enough for me to protest here but not so much, you'll notice, for me to have it changed. Much of what I've obsessively learned about transit policy and planning in Toronto has been based on the efforts of James Bow's excellent Transit Toronto and the muck-raking city planning document scourers in the transit section over at the Urban Toronto forum. Along with Steve Munro's site, these are required reading if you have to understand me when I start going on (and, truth be told, on) about such things.

am_underground.gifIn other transit- and people-I-know-related news, Andrew Moore, AKA A.M., has released a new album called Underground — "organic atmospheric electronica; a soundtrack to a day in the life of an underground transit system." A.M. recorded ambient noise, snippits of overheard conversation, and the mechanical goings-on over hours spent in the Toronto subway system, and then blended them with samples and live instrumentals. It's definitely worth a listen, and it's been getting some press recently [ Globe and Mail | BlogTO ].

Posted by madhava at 02:28 PM | Comments (1)