Improvement of the Open Data Nets Transit App service for three cities

Three other cities now have real-time public transport information for their commuters, without having to develop or maintain the mobile apps themselves. All it took was improved open data and serious collaboration with civic-minded coders.

All three cities – Chattanooga, Tennessee, Baltimore and Cleveland – are now served by the Transit app, which uses open public transportation data to instantly display all local transportation options and departure times in 99 cities around the world. Users can view bus schedules and arrivals, metro maps and departures, request Uber service, plan a bike trip with visible bike paths, and more.

To do this, Transit App relies on the city’s open data portals and transport information from various local agencies, which means cities with better data are more likely to be added to the service.

Before Chattanooga became one of the available Transit App locations, however, its transit information had not yet been offered online, according to a company article in Medium.

Through a partnership with the Code for America team and the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, digital transit schedules have been made available to third-party developers on GitHub.

This effort, combined with a social media campaign, placed the city at the top of Transit App’s “wish list”.

Soon after, Chattanooga had a transit app with timetables, trip planning, bike-sharing program information, and real-time transit data. According to Transit App, this city-wide citizen service was provided at no cost to the government of Chattanooga and without any request for proposal.

Following the success of Chattanooga, the Transit App team took inspiration from Code for America brigade captain Chris Whong and his Baltimore project.

Whong took the data from the Maryland Transit Administration website and created a site with a real-time bus location map – largely out of frustration at the ineffectiveness of the state’s own bus tracker.

According to Transit App, Baltimore’s transit tracking system had already cost the city $ 2.7 million, and in order to turn that information into a shareable format, the city said it would cost $ 600,000. additional.

Once Code for America was able to access real-time transit information from Baltimore with the help of Whong, the Transit app implemented it into their systems and opened another easily usable city service.

This service is particularly beneficial for a city like Baltimore, where more than half of the inhabitants do not have a car.

More recently, Transit App was able to do the same for Cleveland after a request from the Code for America squad in that city.

The Transit app was able to contact the city’s CIO, which allowed the company to access and leverage the necessary data from the provider of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority or Riderta.

While Cleveland’s real-time information is not yet fully open and integrated, the Transit app post mentioned the city’s strong advocacy for open data – through several groups like Open Cleveland, Hack Cleveland and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress – as encouraging signs of continued transparency efforts. .