You may not realize it yet, but technology is quickly transforming the way we perceive and interact with public and shared transportation systems. From traditional bus and rail systems to taxis and car/bicycle sharing systems, technology is changing the transportation landscape. Mobile and web-based applications enable us to access real-time route information, make more efficient use of resources, and make wiser decisions about how we travel.

I was fortunate enough to attend Transportation Camp in NYC, an “unconference” where the focus was the intersection of transit and technology. Transit nerds united. The event was well attended with a diverse group of individuals ranging from fellow bloggers and community advocates (see: GGW) to Peter Appel, Administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, USDOT and Chris Vein, Deputy United States Chief Technology Officer for Government Innovation, Office of Science and Technology Policy. The conversations (and tweets) that arose from Transportation Camp illustrate this new direction for transit.

Here is just a sampling of the topics that were addressed at the unconference:

  • The future of real-time GPS based transit tracking applications. A number of transit agencies have recently migrated to open-data platforms that enable third-party developers to develop applications (and creative visualizations) of the systems.
  • Applications which will soon reshape the way we think of hailing taxis. Applications such as TaxiMagic enable users to schedule, track, and even obtain digital receipts of their trips via the web or mobile device. Imagine what a fully integrated system could look like as you hail a cab from your mobile before even stepping out of the door of your apartment/office/etc. Real-time data can also facilitate ride-sharing among willing users - reducing taxi fares and (more importantly) making more efficient use of vehicles on the roadway.
  • Using open-source applications for civic engagement and participation. You can’t always make it to the community meeting at city hall to voice your concerns or support for a given plan. Why not develop applications to allow increase digital interaction and participation in government?

This is just a snippet of the conversations that took place this weekend in NYC. To read more - follow (@TranspoCamp or #Transpo). I’ll be back later this week to offer some more details on some of the best applications in use today across the nation and what we can do to facilitate public transportation use in Miami…

Also, don’t forget to follow TransitMiami on Twitter or Join our Facebook Fan Page. We try our best to share information on all platforms…

 

 

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