A transit app made for the Twin Cities. Making transit easier to use and discover.
The challenge to the Twin Cities in ushering transit users is to make it easier for you and I to quickly navigate and recognized the system. No longer do we just need to go Downtown, we travel everywhere, and so we need to know how to immediately transfer to the 16 or wait a few more minutes for a limited bus. We have to help people learn the system for it to become more frequently used -- just like you don't travel roads you don't know. Presenting the right information may mean finding the nearest lines, which bus stops have shelters, and deducing whether a nearby route might be actually faster. A transit app that focuses on providing you the full data and letting you interpret that information in real time can make adopting and connecting transit easier.
A Transit App for Twin Citians
As a frequent Twin Cities transit user and techie, I've tried all the apps you could find. They are great at giving simple point A to B data much in the way we use Google Maps right now but that's pretty much it. Once you start using transit frequently, you realize what you need is real time and location data coupled together. You need to know and feel the system around you. The Twin Cities has a vast and modernized bus system but they run at long intervals so catching the bus is uber important. You don't have time to try a dozen alternate route options. Knowing simply what lines are running nearby and when they arrive allow you to plan physically and spatially where to be to catch your ride. This is in fact why bus stops still have paper schedule tables whereas many cities have done away with them.
Our rail and streetcar system will be many decades in the running and even then, the bus system will remain an important connector to get us close enough to our doorsteps and destinations. Current tools like those offered by Metro Transit are not tailored to mobile users, not presented in an effective way, and are a little bit awkward to use like the interactive map. As well there are other Minnesota transit agencies who have data and not integrated them. With over 200,000 people boarding MT buses on weekdays, I see this app making an impact by providing a useful service to current residents and also helping the number of riders to grow!
Where To Go Now
The first phase of my transit app is to create a web-based app to launch a stable interface that defines the mission and feel of this project. Fortunately I've already built this! Over a hundred hours have went into constructing a web-based prototype that allows you to quickly find the real time arrivals of a transit route via Metro Transit's API feed and matched that with openly available route stops and layer data.
The next phase with the hopeful backing of this Kickstarter will involve one of the following long-term goals that further defines the vision of this transit app. These goals require time, patience, focus, and a lot of design/code planning to fulfill. They require blocks of hours in front of code, building and trying different approaches, resolving problems in hundreds of lines of code, testing design interfaces and much more. At every step, your feedback will be an important response to the changing shape of this ambitious project. The more funding, the more goals that can be approached and integrated in each cycle.
1) Incorporate and visualize a more useful and enhanced transit map with clickable stops that combines elements from other transit systems in my travels.
2) Create a simple user system in which users can save favorite routes and customize their own dashboard that relates to their transit experience.
3) Enhance route pages into route "homepages" where users can leave comments, post photos, route feedback, check in to Foursquare, post to social media, and other functions which place emphasis on the rider experience.
4) Create stop and station "homepages" where riders can comment and rate stops and routes for future improvement feedback to Metro Transit. Riders can for example realize that waiting at the next bus stop down is better because it may be heated or provide a shelter.
5) Integrate bicycling information such as where kiosks and corrals are. My vision of a transit app is one that enhances your existing ability to use, influence, and enjoy the transit system that is yours!
I Love MN
Having been a Twin Cities resident for 28 years, I am invested in helping build a sustaining future for Minnesotans urban to rural. My entrepreneurial family roots started with the Nankin restaurant in 1930s Minneapolis and I've taken from them lessons of civic duty to heart. As a techie and urbanist, I believe in leveraging technology to help change the perception of the city into a sustainable, transit friendly place. For the Twin Cities, until a regional rail system is in place, hoping on a bus requires a little more help. A useful and vibrant app can present a welcoming and encouraging face for new residents, college students, convention center visitors, and tourists. Our transit systems are owned by us and we should be able to use them fully. We don't need to relive the streetcar glory days, we are building our own vision of a sustainable Twin Cities right now.
You Believe in Transit
Ultimately, I'm asking that you pitch in because you support these kinds of innovative projects -- the really cool techie ideas that get overlooked in our snowy flyover metropolitan. A fantastic community crowd response will let me know that I don't have to charge for such a premium app and services in order to keep this open and accessible to all.
Video music by Twin Cities hip-hop artist Toussaint Morrison.
I am working tirelessly to bring the $20 and onward levels new rewards. Because I cannot update the reward field after people have backed it, I will state that you can expect equivalent rewards and above to your tier level if it is not stated. For example $25 donors will be getting the streetcar print and an additional item.
The $100 level will now receive the following:
- Twin Cities bicycle map.
- Typographic 17x22 print of NYC subway system map made by Minneapolis etsy artist FadeOutDesign.
- Twin City Lines streetcar print by Minneapolis artist Cindy Lindgren
- Historic vintage Twin Cities postcard drawn at random from my stock featuring everything from the Capitol to Nicollet Ave from the 1900s
The revised $50 and new $250 level has a slew of items, check it out.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
With over 100 hours of design and code into the project already, many expected and new obstacles and setbacks have been tackled and seen through. New issues that do arise as the project goes forward will be solved by the usual hours of testing, focus, patience, and hard work. Often this involves staring down hundreds of lines of code or database rows to find a problem. Or it can be showing ten people a new design interface. Developer feedback will infuse and improve each iteration. This is a lean and agile process that is typical of a prototype build. A user and community feedback forum will be a part of this so you can make your ideas and voice heard as it progresses. A status update blog will keep communication lines open.
Yes! The transit app will be made open to the public with the features as shown. This Kickstarter not only supports innovation and development toward our goals but also the improvement and upkeep of the existing beta.
You mention that it is a web app, but all of your photos are of an iPhone. By webapp do you mean that it loads via a web browser? Hence nearly any device could use it?
Yes it is web-based, accessible by any web browser so it is compatible with Apple and Android. Many of my friends have Android phones and I personally use an Android tablet so I always have open compatibility in mind!
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Generous thanks for your recognition and contribution. Be committed to great ideas for Minnesota's future.Estimated delivery:
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Support grassroots work on delivering transit solutions. Your personal name gets recognized as an early supporter in our thank yous.Estimated delivery:
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Know that you are supporting tireless hours towards delivering a wonderful asset to the Twin Cities. - Have your name, title, business, or group recognized as a bronze supporter. - Twin City Lines streetcar postcard by a Minneapolis artistEstimated delivery:Ships within the US only
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Have your name, title, business, or group recognized as a bronze supporter. Know that you are supporting tireless hours towards delivering a wonderful asset to the Twin Cities.Estimated delivery:
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As a silver supporter, truly show fellow citizens your commitment to innovation and connect them with your interests. -Have your name, title, business, or group recognized and a 70 character phrase to share. - Receive a Twin City Lines streetcar postcard made by a Minneapolis artist - Twin Cities bicycle mapEstimated delivery:Ships within the US only
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As a gold supporter, receive your name, title, business, or group recognized and a 140 character limit phrase to share. Quote Jane Jacobs, send a message of peace or promote your bicycling shop to local transit users everywhere. You will also receive a printed Twin Cities transit map and a Twin Cities bicycle map.Estimated delivery:
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I can't say enough. You recognize and acknowledge the talent, idea, platform, and vision. As a platinum supporter, receive your name recognized along with a leaderboard image. Promote your bike shop, coffee shop, vintage store, music group, favorite charity, or send a message peace to transit users everywhere. I'm enormously thankful of the consideration you give to this project. - Twin Cities bicycle map. - 1 year NiceRide subscription. - Typographic print of NYC subway system map made by Minneapolis etsy artist FadeOutDesign. - Twin City Lines streetcar postcard by Minneapolis artist Cindy Lindgren - One Twin City Lines student token - Limited leather transit wallet to hold your Go To CardEstimated delivery:Ships within the US only
- (31 days)