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LEAD Athens team makes Athens Transit bus routes available on Google Maps

Friday, March 18, 2016 - 10:37am

LEAD Athens is a program of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce designed to develop effective leaders committed to building a vibrant community through Leadership, Education, Awareness and Development. For the past year, The Franklin College has supported LEAD Athens by sponsoring the participation of our senior web services manager, Stephanie Burr Sharp, to work on a LEAD project. And now thanks to the efforts of Sharp's group, a ride on Athens Transit is now as close as your smartphone:

Officially unveiled Tuesday at Athens Transit’s Multimodal Transportation Center in downtown Athens, the work done by the LEAD Athens team ties Athens Transit route and schedule information to the readily available Google Maps application. As a result, finding an Athens Transit route to suit individual transportation needs is as easy as opening Google Maps, typing in a destination, and touching the bus icon that pops up on the screen.

Once that’s done, Google Maps users will find a list of the routes available, along with the stop times and travel times of those routes, from the nearest Athens Transit stop to the user’s destination. A quick touch on the route information will call up a map of the route, in addition to directions for any walking that may be needed to or from the bus stops on either end of a preferred route.

Much of the work to get the Athens Transit data onto Google Maps was done by LEAD Athens participant Stephanie Sharp, an information technology professional at the University of Georgia. Also on the team that linked Athens Transit to Google Maps were LEAD Athens participants Steven Dasher of the Athens Regional Foundation, Tricia Davis, director of health information management at St. Mary’s Healthcare System, Richie Knight of HW Creative Marketing and Curt Spell, a real estate agent with Blanton Properties.

The team's efforts make Athens one of only a handful of Georgia cities, and one of only a couple of hundred cities nationwide, to have their public transit information linked to Google Maps. The Athens Transit interface includes information on transferring to the UGA transit system, which is now working to sync with Google maps as well.

Overall, this is a wonderful example of expanding the utility of existing technology. But it required a special forum to combine expertise with a desire to improve the lives of people in our community. As such, LEAD Athens is a training program that is making a difference. Great work by Sharp and her LEAD team. The Franklin College is proud to support this effort, and honored to sponsor the development of community leaders like Sharp. 

Image: Bus driver Zack Harlan takes a riders bus pass at the Athens-Clarke County Multi-Modal Transit Center on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 in Athens, Ga. Richard Hamm/Athens Banner Herald

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