Get on the bus with real-time transit alerts courtesy of Code for America

real-time transit alerts by code for america

Anyone who has ever waited for the bus in the sleet on a dark corner in Detroit will appreciate an open data app known as TextMyBus.

Created by Code for America fellows for the City of Detroit’s Department of Transportation, TextMyBus alerts users when and where the closest bus will arrive, all via text message. Simply text your location’s address — or the closest intersection — to receive a list of routes for nearby bus stops. Next, choose a route. TextMyBus relays real-time, live arrival predictions for getting out of the weather and on your way around town, safely.

3.6 million real-time transit alerts sent

It might sound like a small thing, unless you’ve lived in a region with bitterly cold winters, and the usual big city allotment of dangerous street corners and broken streetlights. Detroit dwellers definitely appreciate the app; at last count it boasted 1,500 active users and over 3.6 million real-time transit messages sent. TextMyBus also has received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities and the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

The app is one of many data-rich creations by the brainiacs at Code for America, a nonprofit that is often referred to as “Peace Corps for geeks.” Code for America’s collection of dedicated innovators — designers, developers and researchers — work to build civic-focused tools that can inspire change.

real-time transit alerts for buses traffic

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

If the idea of civic change through technology excites you, don’t miss the Code for America Summit Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 at the Oakland Marriott City Center in Oakland, Calif.  This “roll-up-your-sleeves” conference unites innovators from hundreds of governments across the U.S. with civic-minded designers, technologists, community organizers and entrepreneurs.

Or, consider creating your own Code for America Brigade with help from Code for America. These Brigades are popping up around the country, connecting local volunteer groups with community members to promote a better world via the use of open data.


A free open data portal to code the future

To help with the initiative, OpenDataSoft, a sponsor of the Code for America Summit, is offering a free brigade open data portal to all Code for America Brigades. The Code for Cary and Code for Greensboro have already adopted the free portal, which helps build data visualizations, dashboards and apps.  Interested? Check our brigade dedicated page and get your free open data portal.


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