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Transportation Nation

Are Transportation Apps in the Zeitgeist?

Monday, April 25, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  Transportation information is knowable -- though not always to a centralized authority.    But the proliferation of both smart phones and social media means regular folks can tell each other when the bus is come as quickly as...well...they can tell you there's a revolution underway in the Middle East.  Will Roadify and other apps revolutionize the way we get around?   I take a deeper look, on Marketplace Money.

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Transportation Nation

Transportation and Transit Apps Slay in NYC App Contest

Monday, April 04, 2011

(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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Transportation Nation

New App to Crowd-Source NYC Subway Delay Information

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  Using the NYC MTA's information page, or any of the apps based on it can be an exercise in imagined bliss. On the one hand, it's thrilling to get information on subway status, and whether a line is running before setting out for a subway stop. On the other hand, the information can come late, or be insufficiently detailed.

Here at Transportation Nation, we've often asked ourselves why subway information isn't crowdsourced. If the A train is delayed, hundreds or thousands of riders know it before the MTA relays that information. Now Roadify, the Brooklyn-based app outfit that started crowdsourcing arrival data for the B-67 bus, is adding all NYC subways lines to its crowdsourcing system.

True, the subways aren't wired.  But Roadify's Dylan Goelz says the hope is that a combination of information coming in from above-ground riders, riders leaving the subway, and riders entering stations will create a more complete and immediate picture than the MTA's own info page.

Tell us how it's working!

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