This page describes how to:
- • find routes and stops
- • query next bus and train times
- • filter by destination
- • set an alarm
|The basic screen of TransiCast shows a selection of agencies in cities where the relevant route and stop data is available to the public. The screenshot to the left shows an example of this basic screen for the Chicago area.|
|Zoom and pan the map view to navigate and expose the agency label that provides services on a route of interest. A tap on an agency label queries the Transit Data Server for the routes of the agency. The screenshot to the left shows the route list of CTA.|
|When one of the route labels is tapped, TransiCast queries TransiCast's Transit Data Server for the details of the selected routes. TransiCast displays the route terminus stops and sequence of stops while the route details are loaded from the Transit Data Server. Zooming in eventually exposes labels of individual stops or stations. The screenshots below show parts of Line B of the New York subway. Dark blue labels are termini stops or stations. They cannot be tapped. Gray labels and dots on the route represent individual stops and stations. They can be rotated and tapped.|
When stop labels are displayed, a tap on a stop label queries the Transit Data Server for the next bus or train times of the stop or station. If multiple routes share a stop or station, approaching vehicles of other routes are displayed as well.
Tap on a departure label to filter for a particular destination, and show vehicle locations, where available.
Long tap a departure label to load the respective route that the approaching vehicle runs.
Note that agencies and routes are only available for the default Transit Data Server at http://transicast.appspot.com
Finding Stops And Map View Navigation
An alternative way of calling departure queries for a stop is a query for stops and stations nearby. Either tap the map view, or use Search Stops from the application menu, and TransiCast finds the closest seven stops or stations within a 350 meter (1000') radius from the device location. New with TransiCast 3.1, Search Stops also offers a search by address or landmark.
The screenshot to the left shows the Search Stops dialog. Enter an address or landmark, and add an optional route filter to search stops within the bounds of the map view.|
At My Location starts a stop search at the device location.
- Where is the data coming from?
- TransiCast loads stops, routes and real time departures from the Transit Data Server. The default server is the TransiCast cloud server, which provides access to the relevant data. Specific agency servers can also be accessed.
|As an example, the screenshot to the left shows stops that were found just west of the Lloyd Center in Portland (Oregon).|
The screenshot of Houston to the left illustrates this feature. The stop label |
"Gray ST @ BAGBY ST" is rotated upwards. This uncovers the underlying stop labels.
Each stop belongs to an agency (or operator). When a stop is selected, the agency is displayed in the top left corner of the screen.
Tapping a stop starts a service query for the stop. TransiCast calls the Transit Data Server to find
the buses and trains that approach the selected stop. If no service vehicles were found
within the prediction horizon,
TransiCast displays a "No departures within horizon" message.
The prediction horizon can be changed in the Settings.
If real-time departures are generally not available, TransiCast falls back to the list of
routes and destinations that service the selected stop.
The map view automatically centers and zooms to show the approaching vehicles and the selected stop. If the number of approaching vehicles exceeds the panel view parameter, departures are displayed in Panel View form. The Panel View stacks departures by estimated departure time, and does not provide individual vehicle locations. Each departure includes the route, destination and estimated departure countdown. The panel view parameter can be changed in the Settings. Some Transit Data Servers provide vehicle locations (as is the case with TriMet's web service). This allows the display of vehicle locations. When departures are displayed in Panel View form, a tap of a departure selects the departure's destination, and switches to vehicle location displays, with bus symbol showing destination, vehicle locations and the reported heading. In case vehicle locations are not available, the vehicle labels are stacked at the bottom of the display, ordered by estimated departure.
Vehicle label text colors are used to distinguish between four different vehicle states:
- • Red text color is used to indicate that a departure prediction is based on real-time data. When the predicted departure of a service vehicle drops below the alarm threshold parameter value (defined in Settings), the vehicle label is displayed with a blinking stop label.
- • Blue text color is used when the transit service data is reported on a service schedule basis. The prediction horizon does not apply to scheduled departures, which are displayed regardless.
- • Yellow text color is used for vehicles with an active alarm.
- • White text color is used when routes or destinations that service a stop are displayed. TransiCast falls back on white text color coded routes and departures where departure data is not available.
|The screenshot to the left shows vehicles in approach to the "Michigan & Huron" stop in Chicago. Two vehicles on line 3 are displayed, based on real-time data, with the label text displayed in red color.|
Depending on data service and connectivity, an update may take a few of seconds. WiFi generally offers the fastest connection speed.
The Home, End and Back Keys
The Home, End and Back keys perform their respective functions:
- • The Home key exits TransiCast to return to the Android home screen. When TransiCast is launched again, the map center, stop selection, filtered destinations and alarms are restored.
- • The End key locks the screen and puts the device into sleep mode. In
sleep mode, the "Menu" key unlocks the device, and TransiCast resumes.
While in sleep mode, TransiCast stops querying the transit data server.
This helps conserve battery power. When the device returns from sleep mode,
the last query is likely older than double the period of the refresh cycle.
In this case, the vehicle label background color turns to gray for a moment,
until TransiCast recieves an update from the Transit Data Server.
Gray stop labels may also occur during periods of unstable data connectivity. This might be accompanied by "Network not available" or "Reaching out" messages. These messages indicate that the device does not have a data network connection ("zero bars"), or that a signal is available, but the Transit Data Server cannot be reached.
- • The Back key returns to the previous selection.
Filter By Destination
A destination filter is set by tapping a vehicle label. When a destination filter is set, TransiCast shows only vehicles
that share the destination of the selected vehicle. The selected route or destination is displayed in the top left corner,
next to the agency that services a selected stop.
When a filter destination is set, the selected destination, or, if available, the vehicles within the prediction horizon are displayed. This includes followers with later departure times. Followers are displayed in a smaller font size in order to distinguish them from the first predicted departure. The following screenshot shows a filtered destination for an agency where real-time deparure data is not available.
Setting An Alarm
Alarms provide a way to get notified when the predicted departure of a selected vehicle reaches the
alarm threshold. An alarm is set by tapping a vehicle label while a destination
filter is active. The alarm reverts back when the vehicle label is tapped again.
A vehicle with an active alarm is displayed with yellow text color. In addition, an alarm icon is
displayed in the upper right corner of the screen.
Alarms remain active while the device is in sleep mode, or when another application is used. When in sleep mode, the alarm is issued as a single ring notification and a series of vibrations.
The default alarm threshold is four minutes. It can be changed in Settings. In addition to an audible signal, alarms vibrate the device, assuming vibration is activated, and the device supports that feature.