Never miss your transport with this bus arrival notifier

[John Graham-Cumming] was all set to start a new project based on the Raspberry Pi. Well, that was until shipment was delayed due to manufacturing issues. Not to fret, he transitioned over to a router board which displays the arrival countdown for mass transit bus service.

He based the build on a web page the Transport for London provided. You can load it up and see if your bus is running on time or not. There’s no published API, but by studying the source code from the site [John] was able to figure out how the JSON commands were formatted.

The next step is building a standalone device to pull the data and display it. The board seen above is from a Linksys WRT54GL router. This longtime favorite has a serial port header which can be driven from the Linux kernel. He wired up a jack on the router’s case, and uses an extension cable to get from it to the 7-segment displays mounted in a model of the bus. Since there’s four digits the display can tell you minutes until the arrival of two different buses.

[Thanks Pseudo Lobster]


  1. henry22 says:

    cool stuff, Canberra buses (australia) will soon have this feature (with iphone/adroid applications). AFAIK they’re also making the data stream open, so any software can tap onto it.

  2. lochnessduck says:

    I love the addition of the model bus. Technically not necessary for the hack, but it’s not only pleasing but makes the hack more intuitive to grasp for those who may just glance at the picture.
    This *should* be feasible with Seattle’s (and surrounding areas’) one bus away tool as well!

  3. Hirudinea says:

    I’ed like one for where I live but I don’t think it can count days.

  4. Andrew says:

    Sydney Buses (Australia) will be adding gps tracking in 2037. I can’t wait. They’ve been working on it for 20+ years.

  5. macegr says:

    I’m glad he was able to move past the lack of a Raspberry Pi and just get the job done with easily found hardware.

  6. darko says:

    that photo reminds me the movie “Speed” with Keanu Reeves :)

  7. Mike says:

    I love how he put it in a bus.

    He’ll still miss the bus though. But now he’ll know he’s going to miss it before he runs out the door.

  8. conundrum says:

    He should make 100 of these and sell them to the States over here, the new bus company would be all over this like flies on manure!! :-)

    people always complain that buses are early or late, a countdown timer is IMHO ideal.
    Even have the “number of stops” displayed as well.

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