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.