DC Government Announces New Circulator Bus Mobile Application


I am a transportation planner with the District of Columbia Office of Planning, and I’m writing to share news of the District’s recent announcement of a Circulator bus tracking application for mobile devices. I thought the GovLoop community might be interested in learning more about the application and process.

For DC’s current Apps for Democracy 2 contest, the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and its partners asked residents to suggest and vote on problems that can be solved through data and technology, and the No. 3 response was “GPS for bus system arrivals.”

Working together and using in-house talent, the DC Department of Transportation, Office of Planning, and OCTO have developed “Where’s My Bus?” – a mobile application to provide real-time GPS information on the location of buses along the Circulator’s five routes through the District’s commercial centers.

Chris Willey, the DC CTO, a believer in the “citizens as co-creators” philosophy, led his office to develop “Where’s My Bus?” as an open source application that any municipality with a similar bus system and real-time GPS data can adapt and implement. And in the spirit of Apps for Democracy, all of the Circulator app data is being made publicly available to encourage private developers in DC to build their own, even better applications.

As Harriet Tregoning, Director of the DC Office of Planning, and Gabe Klein, Director of the DC Department of Transportation see it, giving people up-to-the-minute information on where their next bus is in the palm of their hands has the potential to transform the experience of using public transit.

DC has expended minimal cost to join a select few American cities using GPS tracking to make riding the bus more predictable and convenient. Willey, Tregoning, and Klein hope that this tool and the model of free public transit data will be adopted by municipalities across the country, making it easier for Americans to choose transit.

I hope you’ll consider sharing the application with your network. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like more information.

Thank you,

Colleen S. Mitchell, AICP
Transportation Planner
DC Office of Planning
ph: 202.442.7604
[email protected]

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Not only do I think Apps for Democracy is awesome…but I think the idea that in-talent created their own app to submit rocks. While we often fail to utilize the skills of citizens, but often we neglect to use the skills and passion of government employees. This rocks!

Denise Hill

Kudos to the those who listened and supported the idea and in-house staff that developed the app. This is incentive to take the bus.