“Mobility Lab’s Transit Tech Initiative explores new technology developments allowing the public to better navigate transit. The initiative includes both in-house developments through our Fellowship Program and collaborative developments through programs like our Transit Hack Days and Transportation Camp DC.
All code created by the initiative is open source and can be found at: github.com/MobilityLab
Learn more about the initiative or roll-up your sleeves and collaborate with us at: mobilitylab.org/transittech/wiki
Join us. Let’s share ideas. Together we can build better solutions.
Public Input = Public Transportation!”
Capital Bikeshare Releases Two New Survey Reports: Surveys Provide Detailed Data on Bikeshare Usage and Regional Impact. Here are the original Tweets from this morning’s presentation and press conference.
Imagine the following scenario: Your daily commute in Washington D.C. requires taking metro’s green line to Gallery Place, then transferring onto a metrobus to your final destination. Unfortunately, the Washington Capitals hockey team is playing at Gallery Place’s Verizon Center. The game has just completed, and the street is teaming with Caps fans. Traffic is [...]
In the world of “total health,” transportation and food are part of the health system. These industries combined make up a large chunk of the workforce and produce a large chunk of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. (The GHG numbers need to be interpreted with great care because there’s probably overlap between the industries. If you [...]
Mobility Lab will be exhibiting at Transportation Data Palooza, hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation. One of our blog contributors, Shana Retherford Johnson, a senior transportation planner at Foursquare, will be presenting on Acquiring Modal Split and Occupancy Data. The keynote speaker will be Pete Stephanos of the Federal Highway Administration, and closing remarks will [...]
This morning, Facebook, ever knowledgeable about users interests and preferences, recommended an app to me called SideCar. Clicking the SideCar link resulted in an application page soliciting users to join its fleet of drivers with the pitch, “You drive every day. Why not get paid for it?” SideCar is a smartphone-enabled, instant-match ridesharing service, and [...]
Local technologists shared ideas and worked together at Mobility Lab’s recent Data Visualization Hack Day. It’s great to take an online community and bring folks together. One of the participants, Ted Eytan, has already shared his experience of how he learned about new available data sets – see Walking on Mondays Looks Like a Healthy, Smart Business [...]
With sessions like “Making Accessible Transportation Modern and Cool,” “Sexy, Safe & Smart Highways,” and “Transportation Apps & the Sharing Economy,” transportation was re-imagined in new and exciting ways at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Many of these ideas were discussed at local meetups like “Hacking Transportation” and “Bike Culture.” [...]
I learned so many things at this past weekend’s Mobility Hack Day, which was held at Mobility Lab, a unique organization in our region and nation. “Mobility” refers to transportation, rather than “mobile technology,” although the two are commingled in this world. I have been following all of the amazing analysis and visualizations of Capital Bikeshare, the [...]
Mobility Lab’s Data Visualization Hack Day (tomorrow, Saturday, March 23) will bring together programmers with agency representatives and community stakeholders. Our goal is to share both the data we have about regional mobility systems and the tools we use to visualize them. There’s something about visual information that manages to engage people and fire the imagination. As [...]
The South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive 2013 Conference in Austin, Texas took a turn this year away from being the startup launching pad to something more substantial. It became a marketing festival – a place for the estimated 27,000 young, affluent, digital decision makers to connect with one another offline and to preview the art of our [...]
The public now has access to bikesharing data from a new city. Bixi Montreal has released a chunk of data from a day of bikesharing, which I’ve incorporated into my Trip Visualizer. Montreal’s bikesharing system is the largest in North America, with 410 stations. Among the other systems I’ve studied – Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare, [...]
TransportationCamp DC is all about providing technology tools to people so they can make the critical choices of getting from Point A to Point B and beyond. The convergence this year of hundreds of urbanists, transportation aficionados, and people who work with technology for a living all joined together on the Saturday last month before the [...]
Do you remember telephone operators? Have you ever heard of telephone operators, or switchboard operators? If the only thing that comes to mind are black and white photos of Victorian women seated in rows in front of large panels of cords, then you are correct. Telephone operators, once tasked with connecting phone lines before the [...]
After building the CaBi Trip Visualizer for the Capital Bikeshare system in Washington D.C. and Virginia, I looked for other cities I could do similar analyses with. I found two other systems that posted the open data that would allow me to create maps showing where their riders are coming and going. I got the [...]
The creators of a nifty, high-tech airport-arrival app in development won this year’s first-ever “Six-Minute Pitch” competition at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 92nd Annual Meeting. I recently had the opportunity, while they were basking in their victorious glory, to ask co-developers Robert Rodden and Susan Paulus a few questions. Tell me about your app. It’s called [...]
Capital Bikeshare’s trip history data for the 4th quarter of 2012 has been posted, and with it I’ve made a new version of the CaBi Trip Visualizer. (See last quarter’s version at A Closer Look at Bikeshare Data.) For this version, I’ve strengthened the features that let you examine clusters of stations. When you select [...]
Kurt Raschke, a frequent collaborator on Mobility Lab technology programs, and Chris Barnes of FixWMATA.com (on the right) were leaving a session at TransportationCamp DC on how to improve real-time transit information when Mobility Lab TV‘s cameras caught up with them. Kurt was concerned about transit agencies losing faithful customers when their real-time bus and train [...]
Online mapping applications have become an essential tool for route planning. The route planner from Google Maps originally assumed everyone wanted driving directions for cars, but has grown to include options for biking, walking, and transit. Availability depends on the location, but I’ve been impressed with Google Maps’ coverage. Using Google’s “application programming interface” (API), I [...]
Mobility Lab Express #6 – January 15, 2013 (PDF) This issue features the 2nd Annual TransportationCamp DC, held this past Saturday. With just about every one of the 300-plus people in attendance agreeing that the event was phenomenal, there is little reason to cover much else this issue.
Hundreds of “transit nerds” shared ideas last weekend, as TransportationCamp made a welcome return to the Washington D.C. region. I rode my bike from D.C. to Arlington on this foggy January morning to participate in the unconference. Last year’s event introduced me to the concept of an “unconference,” and this one followed the same format. Attendees themselves generate [...]
Free registration is now open here. Overview: Open data gives us the power to better understand the world we live in. But how do we turn that data into a useful tool? Mobility Hack Day aims to turn mobility-related data into useful content. Our focus will be on visualizing data in the Washington D.C. region. [...]
Registration is now open for the 2nd Annual TransportationCamp Washington DC will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2013. The “unconference” is designed to bring together transportation professionals, technologists, and others interested in the intersection of urban transportation and technology. Following on the success of this year’s inaugural event, TranspoCamp DC 2013 will explore the opportunities to [...]
After TransportationCamp Washington DC 2013, please join us for Happy Hour at Spider Kelly’s, 3181 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22201 (see interactive map). Undoubtedly, all the brain power will want to spill over after the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. session down the road at George Mason University. Starting at 5, we will want to [...]
I attended my first “unconference” last January at Transportation Camp, which came for the first time to Washington D.C. The conference was for anyone interested in urban transportation and technology. The “unconference” aspect meant that the attendees themselves created the presentations. Anyone interested in leading a session wrote their proposal on a large fluorescent sticky note. [...]
A taste of last year’s TransportationCamp Washington DC. Be sure and check out all the details about this year’s event here. First up, Lilly Shoup from the U.S. Department of Transportation organized a session called Transportation Policy 101, which consisted mostly of the very “unconference” format of chatting with like-minded people without the formalities of [...]
Commuters in Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland are lucky to have so many options to get around the area. But it doesn’t happen without hard work behind the scenes. That’s where events like this Saturday’s 2nd Annual TransportationCamp Washington DC 2013 step in. There will be hundreds of really smart people joining together to generate [...]
Every quarter, a new set of data gets added to Capital Bikeshare’s repository of trip-history data. And as the Washington D.C. region’s bikesharing system grows more popular, the data sets grow in size (from 15 megabytes and 117,972 trips in the 4th quarter of 2010 to 68 megabytes and 637,531 trips in the 3rd quarter [...]
Are you like me and usually find yourself randomly pondering life, like why clouds end up resembling animals, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck or where do the roughly 1.2 million people who ride Metrorail and bus everyday go? Well, luckily for us pondering daydreamers and number crunchers alike, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority records [...]
“The success of tomorrow’s transportation system depends heavily on our ability to harness new technology today,” said Jeffrey Spencer, Intelligent Transportation Program Leader from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). He spoke at Mobility Lab as part of Tuesday’s Tech Session for the Intelligent Transportation Society of Virginia (ITSVA). Spencer added that, around the U.S., transit [...]
Mobility Lab Express #3 – December 1, 2012 (PDF) Highlighting some of the great stories from Hack Day, this month’s Mobility Lab Express is focused on key connections between transportation options and technological choice.
Local transit lovers created their own transit screens at Mobility Lab’s Hack Day this past Saturday. You might have noticed these screens if you’ve been to Java Shack in Arlington or the Red Palace bar in D.C. The real-time displays show custom web pages on Mobility Lab’s website. In order to encourage more places to [...]
WHAT: The Intelligent Transportation Society of Virginia and Mobility Lab will hold the inaugural ITSVA Technical Session. Superstorm Sandy and rough winter weather present the kinds of events that demand the proactive use of “intelligent transportation” – like hot lanes, active messaging signs, and mobility options – by entities such as the Virginia Department of Transportation and [...]
I’ve always been a huge transit nerd – partly evidenced by going to the Transit Tech Hack Day in 2011, and trudging to the TransportationCamp unconference in the snow last winter. I’ve also been a software developer in a wide number of programming languages and frameworks for the past six years. And I’ve developed a [...]
It’s unfortunate that it takes a disaster the scale of Superstorm Sandy to get people to consider ridesharing. It’s also unfortunate that when they need to get somewhere after a tragedy, they don’t have quick options at their fingertips. An article in Mashable details how drivers needing to get into Manhattan are now scrambling to find [...]
Earlier this year, Eric Fidler created an open source transit information screen that shows real-time Metro and bus arrivals, and bike availability at Capital Bikeshare stations. Now, you can make your own. Recently, I designed my own screen using the code Eric created, and mounted a tablet computer on the wall of my apartment to [...]
The Washington Nationals October playoff run sure was exciting. Almost as exciting was the volume of bike activity around Nationals Stadium. Clearly, lots of Nats fans are realizing that getting to and from the game by bike is the way to go! The bike parking at the stadium was full, every rack and lamppost in [...]
Mobility Lab’s next Hack Day will be an opportunity for DC area technologists and designers to focus on collaborating to create real-time transit information screens. Area transportation experts will also attend to foster a creative atmosphere and help explore some of the best opportunities for uses of such screens. Please register here. The event will be [...]
Finding your way around the Washington region by bike just got a whole lot easier. BikePlanner.Org is a new bike routing website from OpenPlans that uses the impressive crowdsourced OpenStreetMap. You can instantly set your personal preferences for “fastest,” “safest,” or “flattest” route using the handy triangle selector and you can also choose personal bike [...]
Do you want to know which bike routes through the city are the most simple, have the best surface, have the fewest hills to climb, and are the safest? These are among the final touches being added to an online DC bicycle trip planner crowdsourced by a group of bike and open-source data hackers. They [...]
Are you fascinated by transportation and passionate about using technology to help people? The Mobility Lab, part of Arlington County Commuter Services, is looking for Software Development Fellows and an Open Source Community Manager to further its Transit Tech Initiative, which creates technology to help people understand their transportation choices and fosters open source collaboration. [...]
If you go into the Java Shack coffee shop near Court House in Arlington, or walk past the Red Palace bar on H Street in DC, you will see a new experimental project from the Mobility Lab: Digital screens showing real-time transit arrivals and Capital Bikeshare availability. Real-time transit screen at Java Shack. At Java [...]
Transit Near Me has been receiving lots of attention since a beta launch last week. Michelle Basch introduced listeners on WTOP radio to the new app saying, “if you drive because you don’t think public transportation can get you where you need to go, you might want to check out a new app created in [...]
For the last few months, David Alpert, Eric Fidler, and I have been working at the Mobility Lab, part of Arlington County Commuter Services, to build tools to help people better understand transit. We’d like you to beta test one of our first creations, Transit Near Me. Transit near Clarendon. Transit Near Me is a [...]
Transportation Camp DC is a public “unconference” for transportation professionals, technologists and all others interested in the intersection of urban transportation and technology. Mobility Lab is pleased to join our partners OpenPlans.org and GreaterGreaterWashington.org bringing this exciting program to Washington on Saturday, January 21, 2012! For more information and registration, visit: http://transpocampdc.eventbrite.com
Learn more about creating your own crowdsourcing effort with our open-source utility. Click here for more.
This summer Mobility Lab was recruited by BikeArlington to devise an online tool that would aid in providing feedback on proposed Capital Bikeshare station locations from Rosslyn to Ballston Common. What we devised was new and can be harnessed almost anywhere. The Crowdsourcing tool as we called it ties Google Maps with the database of [...]
The Mobility Lab is looking for 2 software development fellows and 1 visual design fellow for the development of transit applications as part of the Transit Tech Initiative (link Transit Hack Day article). Coordination of this fellowship program is with OpenPlans.org and GreaterGreaterWashington.com. Software development fellows should be multi-talented engineers with an interest in both [...]
Transit Tech Hack Day hosting transit application developers and designers to collaborate on developing tools to help people more effectively use transportation. Co-sponsored by OpenPlans.org and Greater Greater Washington. For more information, go to http://mobilitylab.org/transittech/wiki. You can also register to attend by clicking here.
Open data seems to be all the rage these days with sources ranging from WMATA to the Federal Government’s Data.gov. But honestly, who wants to sit down and read data tables? Clearly the true power of open data comes with strategic applications that showcase the information in useful ways. Mobility Lab’s first projects are developed [...]
Capital Bikeshare’s phenomenal success demands fast growth. In less than a year, CaBi ridership has increased to nearly 5000 trips per day. To accommodate future growth, the system will expand its network of stations over the next few months. An immediate goal for CaBi expansion in Arlington is to create a dense network of stations [...]