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Regional public transit website, mobile app in the works

Website would help navigate east-west public transportation options.

April 22, 2012|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • A Glendale Beeline bus driver returns to his bus on Brand Boulevard. Transportation officials are working on a $754,000 website to make it easier for commuters to find routes through Glendale, Burbank, La Canada and Pasadena.
A Glendale Beeline bus driver returns to his bus on Brand… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Want to figure out how to best get from Pasadena to Burbank using public transit? There soon could be an app for that.

When it comes to traversing the disparate public transportation lines from Burbank to Glendale and on to Pasadena, all the maps, times, costs and routes can seem overwhelming. But local officials are working on a website that will offer residents a range of easy-to-decipher options based on user profiles.

Officials also plan to create a mobile application with a check-in feature as they attempt to make it easier for commuters to use public transit when traveling along the east-west corridor.

“We have lots of information about commuting in and out of downtown Los Angeles … it's travel information in the east-west direction that's missing,” said David Kriske, Burbank's deputy transportation planner.

Users of the site would create profiles selecting preferred forms of travel and when and where they plan to go. By using an underlying database of alternative travel options in the tri-city area — from the Glendale Beeline to the carpools based at Pasadena's large businesses — the website then generates commute options.

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“Most people are creatures of habit. You have tunnel vision on how you commute. It's all routine-based,” said Derek Fretheim, president of Acire Inc., an Irvine-based firm building the website. “The hardest part is taking them out of their comfort zone, their routine.”

It doesn't help that there are multiple maps, websites and other places offering information about light rail, trains and buses, not to mention bike routes and related facilities, he said.

Officials hope to change all that by creating an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand website that does all the search work.

“This is really an opportunity for us to see how technology can really help us change the way we drive,” Fretheim said.

The site, projected to cost $754,000, is scheduled to launch at the end of the year, with plans to follow that up with a mobile application and a check-in option.

At first, the plan was to create the site just for Glendale, but it morphed into a regional program to have greater impact and reach. The project received $417,397 from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, with the remaining $337,390 to be split among Glendale, Burbank , Pasadena and Acire.

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