LaHood: More transit apps needed

If you’ve ever had to wait for a bus during a cold, wet drizzle, you know how powerful a working, accurate transit app can be.

Commuters across the country currently have access to various applications on their mobile devices that are shortening rides and improving their workdays, but more could be done.

Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is calling for better transit information for all. In a recent blog post, he outlines a plan that will hopefully help all transit agencies across the country share info with their communities.

We think we can do better for our nation’s transit riders. So last week, Deputy Secretary John Porcari and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra gathered a variety of stakeholders to see what we can do to help millions more transit riders get better access to information.”

The Secretary acknowledges there are many obstacles though, including the reluctance of some agencies to share their data with the public. The variety of standards and methods used to transmit data can also be a hurdle.

“In America, we do big things. We solve problems. And if the transit community leverages the momentum we generated with last week’s meeting, I know we’ll find solutions that expand transit use and get people where they’re going more effectively.”

Are you in favor of this endeavor? Let us know in the comments!

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Jerry Rhoads

Yes, I would like to see a transit application that provides up to date information on traffic, Metro/Metro bus, MARC, VRE. Additionally I would like to see analytic data demonstrating commute times between these public modes of transport.

Dorothy Ramienski Amatucci

I use an app called “DC Metro Transit” on my Droid … but it comes with a disclaimer that the developers are not associated with WMATA and are “at the mercy” of the data WMATA provides. The app also ONLY deals with Metro, so no MARC or VRE info.

Steve Cottle

In addition to just being helpful, it seems like this could be a very powerful way for struggling transit agencies to improve customer relations. Agencies that are unable to field additional trains or improve (or even maintain current levels of) service in the near term can at least help customers better plan for the level of service that actually can be provided. This is a potentially inexpensive way to reduce customer dissatisfaction, but I’d suspect that more traditionally customer-friendly agencies are at the forefront of providing apps like this.