Day 230: A to B

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August 17, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

I wasn’t born a city boy – I became one after experiencing life in a city and basically falling in love with it.  Having grown up in the ‘burbs, I’ve heard every excuse that people could have for living there – quiet, safe, good schools, big houses, nice lawns – and if those are things you value highly, then there’s probably no better place than suburban America.  As for me, though, I value activity, diversity and opportunity.  Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and things to do are all packed with higher density and more intensity in cities; it means walking down the street is never the same thing twice.

Cities move faster, too.  They grow fast and change fast because they’re driven by fast-thinking, fast-acting, big-dreaming city folk (no offense to slow-living rural America – the charm there isn’t lost on me).  They’re going places, sometimes because they have to.  Living in the city (or at least any city worth living in) means walking, biking, and often sharing a ride with sometimes dozens or hundreds of other people.  To a lot of people (mostly people who’ve never spent time doing it), that sounds like a drag.  To me, it sounds like a smarter way to get around than four wheels per person.  Today’s project is on my side, and is out to help me and thousands (perhaps millions) like me get from A to B without ever needing to check the gas gauge.

The Transit App for iOS will help commuters find the best possible route for their preferred method of non-individually-owned-automobile transportation.  Bussing, biking or hoofing it through cities across America (and someday, the world) will be easier to do through a handy navigation app to replace and expand upon the currently-available tools, destined for obsolescence.

The way we get around is changing. We increasingly combine bikes and transit. And in many cities we’re seeing a birth of whole new modes of transport like bike-share and carshare. At OpenPlans we build open source tools that are responsive to these changes and let us imagine new ways of moving.

Having just moved to a new city, I can personally attest to the value that this sort of app will have.  I find myself puttering with my phone, swinging this way and that to try to orient myself with the compass as I look for the next street I’m supposed to turn on, or the nearest subway station.  I’m looking forward to my city and dozens of others getting smarter with tools like this one.  Find your way to their Kickstarter page and back this project before August 18.


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