Digg reports that Google Transit Launched See and its FAQ
Now I volunteered to do this over a year ago for my city of Halifax. The people there would not share their data- they won't even let drivers have it in anything but paper. They might do something bad with it, you know? (seriously, that was one of the reasons they gave me).
We're going to be spending over $10,000 if the city buys its own software to do this as they said they would. Note that I was offering to do this for free, and release all my source code to them.
The interesting question now will be whether the city still decides to buy sub-par software for its own pathetic website, or whether it will give the data to Google. And if it shares with Google, will it finally share with its own citizens?
I've just emailed them now. Still waiting on my FOIPOP appeal for municipal districts, but what's the harm in getting another FOI request started? It's a good political use of $25. [UPDATE: I heard back from someone in the review office. The city is sticking to its guns, and mediation won't be possible. A final "recommendation" (not an order) is expected sometime in January or February. In any case, they have indicated they would not release the data.]
There are obvious environmental and economic reasons to let citizens promote transit. The more people use transit, the less it has to be subsidized. There's one more angle though for the economic side: letting citizens play with data means some of us might end up developing commercial applications, or sell support to other cities deploying the same software.