As part of an occasional series on "cool" IT projects, I wrote this piece on TfL's Countdown II project, for The Register. The project updates the old saying about three buses coming along at once, to "You'll wait 10 minutes and then 3 buses will arrive within 30 seconds of each other":
As winter sets in, commuters in London stand huddled at bus stops, hoping the shelters' electronic signs report an accurate "due" arrival time rather than a crappy guess.
Those lucky enough to have Transport for London's Countdown system of signs installed at their stops can judge by the minutes flickering on the display whether to brave the chill or nip into the warm caff for a coffee.
The problem is, the signs are not at every stop so some passengers are out in the cold figuratively as well as literally. The equipment is also susceptible to vandalism, and the timetable information isn't being pushed to the phone in your pocket.
But TfL plans to change this with the launch of Countdown II, which went live on Monday after three years in the making. ...