Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) The software developer Roadify won the grand prize in the NYC government-sponsored "Big App Compeitition." The app has allowed users of the B-67 bus to "give' or "receive" information about bus arrival times, thus allowing the wisdom of the crowd to give faster, more accurate, and more true-to-life bus arrival times than the signs posted on MTA placards at bus stops.
Dylan Goelz, one of the founders of Roadify (whose slogan has been, "Put the Community in Commuting") says wining was "a complete shock." Roadify just recently launched a subway for all New York City subway lines.
Its prize-winning software also dispenses crowd-sourced parking and traffic information.
Other winners include Wheeels, which allows users to find, and potentially share, nearby car-services to say,the airport. and bestparking.com which allows users to find the nearest, best, or cheapest parking at any given time.
Brandon Kessler, who ran the competition, say transit and transportation apps mesh perfectly with the current "zeitgeist." He says: "milions of people are going too and from work . There's a a huge amount of lost efficiency, and frustration.' Kessler adds that billions of dollars can potentially be saved if straphangers can share real-time information about where a bus or subway is, versus where it's scheduled to be.
The NYC MTA is also pretty enthusiastic about the apps -- anything that can make the system easier to use redounds well to the cash-strapped transit system, which recently underwent huge service cuts and big fare hike.
"We need to improve real time information," MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said. We But don’t have resources to do everything, these apps will create things at no cost to us that really help our customers."
The MTA has already starting installing countdown clocks on some platforms and hopes to have 2000 by the end of 2011, and is experimenting with real-time bus information on its B-63 bus in Brookklyn, available through mobile phones. All of Staten Island will get the service by the end of the year.
Information on all the winning apps is here.
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