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Home > Cities Today > Issue 24 > The apps that get cities moving

The apps that get cities moving

With over two billion smartphone users worldwide, the opportunity to use this increased connectivity to improve city services has never been greater. Nick Michell discovers the innovative apps that are helping transport authorities get more commuters out of private cars and onto public transport
Smartphone apps are helping thousands of commuters travel around a city on public transport
Photo: TfL

In this increasingly digital era, you’d be hard pressed to find a bus or train carriage that isn’t at least half full of commuters using their smartphones. Books and newspapers are being replaced with Kindles and iPads as the new generation find everything they need at the touch of a button.

While the traditionalists still prefer the physical form and feel of a newspaper or book over an iPad, the high frequency of commuters using technology while they travel, provides the opportunity for urban transport planners to use this connectivity to reach more people than ever before and encourage further use of their mobility services.

“We see huge value in providing information through apps to help customers, young and old, make informed choices about the route they take and the options available,” says Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer and Director of Customer Experience at Transport for London. “We’re committed to making all realtime travel information freely and openly available to help developers create accurate products for customers using its services.”

While many cities are now developing apps that improve the commuter’s experience and help them more easily navigate the urban environment, some are going even further by making public transit, not just a service, but also part of a game.

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