Open Data Improves Lives

In case you missed it on Sunday, the New York Times had a great article on the importance of government-published open data and its benefits to business and community. The article, by Richard H. Thaler of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, singled out the pioneering efforts of San Francisco’s government and developers:

For some years, Bay Area transit systems had been tracking the locations of their trains and buses via onboard GPS. Then someone got the bright idea to post that information in real time. Thus the delightful app Routesy was born. Install it on a smartphone and the app can tell you that your bus is stuck in traffic and will be 10 minutes late — or it can help you realize that you are standing on the wrong street, dummy. It gives consumers a great new way to find out when and where the bus is coming, and all at minimal government expense.

Find the full Times article here, and check out DataSF for more good bits. 


One thought on “Open Data Improves Lives

  1. Seattle transit uses a similar program, OneBusAway. It helps, but data tends to get messy during snow storms. You can wait for a few minutes, check the app, see that the bus will be there in a minute, wait a few minutes more… check the app to see the bus apparently turned invisible and passed by without stopping. It can be frustrating, but it makes me realize how spoiled we are to even have the app to check. Even with its flaws OneBusAway is better than the paper schedules. It’s a third party app though, not government funded, which probably accounts for the mis-sync.

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