In this day & age, technology arguably plays the biggest role in our lives. This is especially true when it comes the plethora of smart phones on the market which seem to be able to do just about everything but brush your teeth for you!
The world of public transportation has seen a huge amount of user friendly applications come out. Up until recently, the MTA was known for giving the brutally cold shoulder to developers as they did not make their data freely available. As some developers could attest, you either had to shell out big bucks or go through what seemed like a never ending process to get anywhere.
However under the new leadership of MTA CEO Jay Walder, the MTA has joined many other agencies in making their data freely available. Here is a report from AMNY’s Heather Haddon on this very subject:
Imagine being able to find out exactly where a bus is see through a tweet on your phone? Or clicking to find out if they’ve finally fixed that busted escalator at your station?
Soon, straphangers can expect a bonanza of new transit apps offering plenty of gee-whiz services, adding to an already rich collection that is changing the way New Yorkers commute.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger,” said Norman Scherer, 53, who attends periodic beer and pizza Meetup fests for developers making transit apps. “They have attracted all these crazy geeky guys who love making apps.”
What’s driving the explosion is the MTA itself. Previously, developers got the cold shoulder from the agency, having to pay big bucks for data or request it through a gruelingly slow process. MTA CEO Jay Walder did a 180 in January, with the agency joining 110 other transit agencies across the world making its gold mine of transit data freely available, according to City-Go-Round, a group pressing for open source data.
Click here for the complete report.
I never understood the previous stance of the MTA when it came to making their data available to developers. In this day & age, technology is a huge part of our everyday lives. For the millions who ride the system daily, user friendly apps that could help their commute should have been openly accepted by the MTA. It is a shame that it took so long for them to realize this. However I will try to focus on the positive in that they did & many will benefit in the long run.
xoxo Transit Blogger