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MTA New York City Transit Enhances Trip Planner NAVTEQ® Map Data And Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ Added To Itinerary Service

February 26, 2008 - by CityGuide News

NEW YORK, NY, February 26, 2008 - MTA NYC Transit has announced that Trip Planner, http://tripplanner.mta.info, NYC Transit's online travel itinerary service has received an upgrade in the areas of sophistication and user-friendliness. Now, when a customer requests a map of walking directions developed for their travel itinerary, they will view the city via a new and improved street map. The new map is powered by NAVTEQ map data, a recognized leader in digital map technology, while the 3D and aerial imagery is supplied by Microsoft Virtual Earth.

"By utilizing NAVTEQ map data and imagery from Microsoft, we are in a position to provide Trip Planner users with a more realistic street grid view and help them better visualize the walking instructions that accompany their travel itinerary," said Paul Fleuranges, NYC Transit Vice President of Corporate Communications.

NAVTEQ digital map data provides an ideal foundation for supporting innovative internet-based mapping applications that require accurate, rich and relevant content. The NAVTEQ database contains millions of the most-valued Points of Interest (POIs) including local banks, ATMs, gas stations and other important destinations to enhance the mapping and navigation experience for end-users. NAVTEQ's digital map, known for its accuracy and extensive coverage, enables more effective location tracking for consumer applications like Trip Planner.

Microsoft's Virtual Earth mapping platform provides the visualization component of Trip Planner, offering customers an immersive touring experience of the City through high resolution satellite and aerial imagery as well as a photorealistic and highly accurate three-dimensional city modeling. Using the Trip Planner's Virtual Earth driven user interface, customers can search and explore city locations and points of interest from all angles and vantage points and retrieve point-to-point routing directions from the comfort of their home, office, or hotel room prior to heading out the door. Through Trip Planner, NYC Transit users can view the City in 3D with a standard internet browser.

"By offering this online service, we've been able to provide more travel information to more customers without a degradation to our core Travel Information Center telephone operations," said Fred Benjamin, Assistant V.P. for Customer Service. "Trip Planner has improved our ability to provide accurate and vital travel information by expanding our operation to a cyber platform."

With the enhanced desktop version of Trip Planner, walking directions can be displayed by clicking on the "Display Walking Directions" tab on top of the map, or my moving the cursor over the start point. Zooming in and out of an area is smoother, and users can pan across an area with much greater ease.

Another new feature allows Trip Planner users to overlay the actual area subway routes and stations over the street grid, a feature programmed into the application by NYC Transit's Internet Technologies Group. "The subway route overlay is a tool that we installed to help familiarize customers to our system whether it's from a starting point or to a destination," said Sohaib Mallick, Senior Director of Internet Technologies at NYC Transit. "It's another graphical representation of the instructions they receive in their custom itinerary."

Service Alerts, which provide riders with crucial information on unscheduled disruptions in subway service, are posted on the Trip Planner homepage. Service Advisories, which detail information on planned disruptions in service to specific subway lines, are attached in all travel itineraries.

"Trip Planner is by far the most accurate travel itinerary provider there is for New York City," said Fleuranges. "With these enhancements, we feel Trip Planner is now the most comprehensive online travel itinerary service available."

By year's end, more than 5,600 customers daily used Trip Planner to obtain travel itineraries for destinations within the five boroughs using the NYC Transit local, express bus and subway network. In January, Trip Planner daily use jumped 9 percent to more than 6,100 users. In addition to NYC Transit bus and subway information, travel itineraries can also be obtained for MTA Bus Company routes and Staten Island Railway. Depending on the itinerary requested, a maximum of three travel options are provided which can be printed or emailed.

Trip Planner can also be accessed via any web enabled phone or PDA at http://tripplanner.mta.info/mobile

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