These days there are apps for every purpose, including transportation. While there are many categories of transportation app, in three key areas apps are translating external data into key insights for travelers.
The first category includes route navigation apps like Parker, Streetline’s app. Navigation apps give GPS guidance to drivers to get them to their destination. To do so they use maps with addresses, possible traffic information, and measure the movement of their users, collecting valuable data on cars on the go in the process.
The next type of apps are parking and meter payment apps. Parker helps users find available parking spaces and parking facilities, and there are dedicated payment apps like ParkMobile focused on helping consumers pay for a metered parking area or space for a certain time period. Parking and meter payment apps focus on recording when and where a customer parks, how long they park, when they leave, and how full parking spaces in certain areas are.
The third category are mass transit apps that focus on keeping users informed of train schedules and stops. Most light rail companies prefer to supply an API to independent developers who can innovate in a variety of different ways, but here the information pushed out revolves around the motion of trains and buses, where they are at any given time. Nextbus is a particularly popular app for a lot of bus services promoting the status of their fleets.
What do these apps have in common, besides transportation? They generate and collect data that can be pieced together to find a bigger picture. The more cars on the road with a specific destination programmed in, the tighter parking will be in that area in the next hour. The more parking spaces are filled up in an area, the higher demand for buses and trains leading into and out of that area will be. When buses are delayed or train tracks are down due to technical issues, that can swing back around to increasing traffic in the area.
These kinds of data can be combined to help smart developers and app creators get a more comprehensive real-time picture of how people are traveling in an area by various methods.