Metro asks riders to create apps

May 4, 2010

By Staff

Information about the next bus to the Issaquah Highlands could someday be available from the Apple App Store — and developed by a Metro Transit rider.

Metro has offered behind-the-scenes data to tech-savvy riders to develop Web or mobile phone apps to make riding buses easier and more convenient.

Metro opened up the data about bus schedules and routes to independent programmers April 1. Metro offers the data free of charge to anyone who agrees to the terms of use. Learn more about the program here.

“King County is home to some of the best and brightest tech minds in the world, and we want to tap into their ingenuity,” Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said in a news release. “Our customers love the apps that are already out there for their phones and computers, and we think there is a lot of potential to create more.”

Desmond said although apps developed by outside developers will not be considered “official” Metro products, the agency might reference the tools on the Metro website.

A tight budget prompted Metro to open the data to private developers, because the transit agency lacks the resources to work on new apps.

In the past, Metro used the data to develop applications, such as Trip Planner and Bus Time. Trip Planner proved successful, and the agency expanded the program into a regional, travel-planning tool to incorporate the schedules and routes of many Puget Sound-area transit agencies.

Metro also entered agreements with private developers to create online bus maps, such as Google Transit and One Bus Away, a real-time bus locator app launched by University of Washington students.

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