Archive for the ‘Commuting’ Category

Terms like Wearable Technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have forced itself into the mainstream.    In this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, IoT was all the rage.   Connected toothbrushes, home audio systems and thermostats were showcased.     Early adopters have embraced products like Google Glass, and there is even now a  backlash  in some places against the use of Google Glass.

As I think about uses for such devices, particularly a product like Google Glass or a Samsung smart watch, it makes me think of a possible use case from my own experience, and whether we’d really want such a use case.

A few years back, I had a job that I commuted to in San Francisco.  Living about 15 miles away, I would take public transportation on the Caltrain to the last stop in SF and then walk about 25 minutes one way to my office.   Typically taking the same train each day at the same time, I would always be making my walk to the office from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM.    I would take the same route each day and would pass hundreds of pedestrian commuters walking the other direction. (more…)


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A week ago, it was reported that the city of Philadelphia would begin ticketing pedestrians for texting while walking.  While that report has since been refuted by the city of Philadelphia and offenders will not be ticketed but rather only reminded to be careful,  the conversation and curiosity around the practice of multi-tasking with devices while walking is picking up around the world.   I’ve had a similar curiosity over the past year during my walking commute in downtown San Francisco. (more…)

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Earlier, I wrote about my experiences using public transportation from the Peninsula to downtown San Francisco, including my Caltrain ride each morning.   My Caltrain ride is usually on an express train line, which has 3-4 stops before reaching the city in about 30 minutes, or occasionally, a later, all stops line that takes 45 minutes.

Now, among all of the 10 stops between, Hillsdale and the end of the line in San Francisco, there is only 1 stop (South San Francisco) where passengers upon departing the train, will have to cross the tracks to reach the platform.

From where I’m sitting on the train at that stop, I’ve noticed that there are some differences in how various people approach those tracks:

  1. Some people will step on the tracks to propel themselves to the platform.
  2. Others will step over the tracks and then step on to the platform. (more…)

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Being a San Francisco city pedestrian commuter, I’ve been wondering what’s more common—people walking while listening to music or people walking while holding a coffee cup.  I see commuters each day and my curiosity has me asking:  has the proliferation of smart phones and ipods made listening to music as essential to the daily commuter as getting that Starbucks coffee before making that last stroll into the office.   I, of course, did some research to find out.

As part of my commute each work day, I take the Caltrain near my home  to the final stop at 4th Street and King Street in downtown San Francisco (my earlier observations of commuting on the train are here).   From there, I’ve decided to walk to the financial district of SF where my office is located—a daily one way walk of about 25 minutes—a great way to get exercise.   Here’s a map of my walk with pins for the beginning and end locations.


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I recently took a new job working directly in the city of San Francisco, within the Financial District to be exact.   Living in the peninsula 20+ miles away, I’m now taking public transportation to work for about 45 minutes (one way).  Compared to the last 10 years of driving, commuting on the train offers a completely different dimension to the day.  Furthermore, for a guy like me who loves to observe what’s around me, public transportation is a very fruitful environment for observation.    Without further adieu, here are my observations, tips, and lesson’s from a month’s worth of public transportation on the Caltrain, the Muni Light Rail, and occasionally the BART.  The observations will be listed in the following categories: Observations,  Lessons, Tips and Suggestions, Phones & Technology, and Differences between the BART, Muni, and Caltrain. (more…)

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