One of the more interesting programs in development at Google, to me, is their Transit Trip Planner. Using essentially the same interface as Google Local, the planner is so far only available in Portland, Oregon, although there are discussions about an expansion to Toronto. This program has barely any relevance to search, right now – but I can foresee possibilities for some handy integration with Google Local.

One question that frequently occurs for me, as a regular user of public transit, is whether I’d be able to get X or Y on my trip – it would be very handy to be able to find out in advance whether there was a flower shop along the route, or a grocery store, or a place I could pick up a bottle of wine. I’d love to be able to incorporate this kind of search into Google Transit.

It seems a fairly straightforward incorporation between the two systems, and in fact Google Local does include a feature similar to this – the "service near location" search. The advantage to a local search with transit data would be that you wouldn’t need to know a particular location or address to find information near – just a route. Perhaps there’s no grocery store near either your destination OR your departure point – but if you take the 35A you’ll pass just a block away from one, for example.

Perhaps I’m dreaming; but to ME this would be a great service. Although Americans tend to be biased heavily towards private transportation, I can’t help but wish for a change. Anybody else think this would be useful?