chase martyn

‘The most important transportation innovation of the decade is the smartphone’ ⇒

Published 07 September 2014, 5:05 am

Almost all movement in a major city now begins with a phone. Mobile apps and interfaces help people do everything from sort through route options to locate an approaching bus or hail a taxi or for-hire vehicle. While cities and transportation regulators have released data and encouraged innovation through contests and hackathons, no U.S. city has aggressively pursued development of an integrated app that enables users to plan, book, and pay for trips across multiple travel modes. Instead, it's the likes of Uber and Google Maps and CityMapper and RideScout that have demonstrated what is possible, and controlled the movement market to date.

The notion that movement in major cities almost always begins with a phone is quite interesting -- more interesting than the rest of this article, I'd argue.

Sure, cities could do more to integrate various transit options into one official, public smartphone app, and that would probably make transportation even easier. But smartphones already enable and encourage much better, more efficient transportation. We should be able to measure that more scientifically.

Chase Martyn Chase Martyn is a political consultant, web developer, and (former) journalist. He currently lives in Chicago, and his opinions are purely his own.