Boston transit opens up data for mobile apps

May 27, 2010
Category: Uncategorized

Andrea Bernstein reports from Boston that the city’s transit agency last year was struggling with the challenge of how to share real-time data with passengers about where city buses are. So the agency invited 200 developers to a meeting to talk about opening up the information for public use.

Bernstein spoke with Chris Dempsey, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority director of innovation, and his colleague Joshua Robin. Robin told her what happened after that meeting:

When we came back from lunch, someone had already built an application, a Google Earth application. And by the end of the weekend, before Chris and I got back to work on Monday, someone had already put it on a simple website.”

A month later, the result of this effort was available for purchase in the iTunes Store: an iPhone app called Catch the Bus that enables them to look up the actual arrival times for specific stops on a route. An Android app is also available. Bernstein indicates that an iPad version, which will show the live locations of each bus on a map, is due next week.

> How Geeks and their Transit Apps Get Us Around Town (Wall Street Journal)