Author: Zak Stone
“Public transportation doesn’t begin when you get on a train,” says Chicago-based engineer and designer Sara Aye. “It begins when you choose transit instead of another mode.” She believes passengers need more than just maps and departure times to help them navigate public transit. How we chose to get around is affected by everything from the weather, to traffic, to our own personal schedules. While a deluge of apps has risen up to fill the information void for public transit users in cities around the world, according to Sara and her husband George, the duo behind social design firm Greater Good Studio, not very many are doing a good enough a job.
In response, they’re using Kickstarter to raise funds for “the mother of all transit apps” for Chicago. The project, called New Tools for Public Transit, promises to be a more holistic approach to accessing the mass of information needed to make public transportation more user friendly. Gearing up for the research phase, they plan to cull the knowledge of Chicago’s transit system from the brains of those who know it best—daily passengers—through a series of workshops and activities in the field. The final product will be an app that’s not just crowdfunded but crowd-designed as well.
In Chicago the need for basic information is real; no tool other than Google Maps has connected the city’s train schedule with the bus schedule to make for one easy-to-use guide to multi-modal trips. But even Google doesn’t use realtime information. “It’s not information that you can trust from the standpoint of time,” Sara says. (She adds that Apple is axing Google Maps from its next release of iOS, which means the next iPhone won’t have Google Maps built in.) Plus a new administration led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel is more tech-savvy, according to George, and has made it easy for web developers to access city data from a central repository.
Read the full article at http://www.good.is/post/chicago-urban-scouts-reimagine-transportation-for-the-mother-of-all-transit-apps.