Smart Ride shows real time bus arrivals on handy map interface.
Back in March we told you about Metro’s Developer Challenge – an invitation to developers to create apps using Metro’s open transit data for a chance to win some big cash prizes.
Well, a few months have passed, the clever developers have worked their magic and Metro’s judges have chosen the winners. Here they are (with some brief commentary on the apps I’ve tried out):
Best Mobile App: L.A. Metro Alerts by Ross MacFarland (Android)
Ross MacFarland has developed an Android app that “Provides NextBus arrival times to Android phones. Highlights include bookmarking of stops and the ability to get alerts when buses/trains are a desired amount of time away.”
I don’t have an Android device and haven’t had the chance to test this app, but here’s what Metro’s judges had to say: “A great app that’s easy to use…just pick it up and use the tool – all very intuitive.”
Best NextBus Mobile App: Smart Ride By Aaron Bannert (iOS)
Aaron Bannert taps into realtime NextBus data for his app Smart Ride which “Allows the user to access nearby routes and stops, check real-time arrival predictions, track the progress along a route, and watch for transit alerts. A Favorites list can also be created for easy access to one’s favorite stops.”
Of all the apps I tried, this is my favorite. The interface is simple and the functionality is robust. For mobile iOS (iPhone, iPad) users, this app is a godsend! It uses GPS data to round up nearby stops and lists the next three arrival times (real time) for each stop. One of my favorite features in the map mode, which lets you view all nearby stops (and upcoming arrivals) from a Google Maps interface. Another fantastic feature for regular riders: stops can be saved so you can find out when your next bus is coming without any hassle.
Here’s how the Metro judges describe the app: “Has a great look and feel, and provides a route and stop selection process that is easy to use.”
Best Mobile App (College): CSULA Transit by Robert Martin and Andrew Greene (iOS)
Cal State L.A. developers Robert Martin and Andrew Greene win the college category with this iOS app that “Displays real-time updates for all buses arriving at the Cal State LA campus using NextBus prediction services. Also displays upcoming Metrolink train arrivals.”
The app includes the major transit stops for CSULA including the University Transit Center, El Monte Busway and Cal State Metrolink Station. Users can click on their stop and find the next trip times for all arriving transit. The software is simple, focused and fast. Should be a boon for transit oriented Cal State coeds.
Here’s what Metro judges had to say: ““A simple yet user-friendly app with a design well suited for handhelds.”
Don’t have a smart phone? Check out the best web mashups after the jump. Continue reading