Mobility Lab: Re-inventing Transit Information
Saturday, July 23, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM (EDT)
The Mobility Lab, a project of Arlington County Commuter Services, wants to hear from technologists and designers interested in re-inventing transit information tools. In the coming months, Mobility Lab, in collaboration with Greater Greater Washington and OpenPlans, will be launching a research and development project to explore new ways of using technology to help people better understand their transportation options.
While the specifics of this program are still being finalized, current plans include the creation of an in-house team of technology fellows to prototype new tools, a series of public events to discuss advances in transportation information and related fields, and a conference on transportation technology and information design.
On Saturday, July 23rd from 11am-2pm, the Mobility Lab will be hosting a working meeting to discuss plans for this project and solicit input from interested parties. This meeting will shape the direction for a project to be launched this fall, and will help identify potential collaborators. Lunch will be provided.
Getting the right information into peoples’ hands is a critical component of delivering effective transportation services. Maps, schedules, real-time arrival information and on-line planning tools help users integrate a wide array of transit options into their daily lives. These tools play an especially important role for new users, helping them discover the relationship between existing services and their mobility needs.
Making sense of transit options is highly personal activity, each user’s lifestyle and unique needs dictate what information is useful. To date, however, information tools have been relatively static. For example, system maps, both printed and online, often show the same information to all users regardless of where they travel or which services are most compatible with their schedules or other needs.
The recent growth of open data standards for transit, along with advances in digital communication and design tools have opened up new possibilities providing dynamic and highly personalized transit information. Just as increasingly ubiquitous mobile platforms offer users access to more timely information, tools for generating custom maps and other visualizations allow “mass customization” of information for individual users.
Despite the tremendous opportunities, exploration of these new possibilities is still in its early stages. Experimentation and close collaboration between users, transit operators and technologists is needed to evolve new tools.
The Washington D.C. metro area is the perfect environment for exploring these possibilities as the region offers a unique array of transportation options and challenges. The diverse and decentralized nature of the region make one-size-fits-all tools less useful. And vast array of transit options and providers--from rail to bike-share--present both challenges and opportunities in presenting an integrated view of transit services within the region.
Mobility Lab, a new initiative of Arlington County Commuter Services, is proud to collaborate with Greater Greater Washington and Open Plans in exploring new technology opportunities to make transportation simple for the end-user. This collaboration fits exactly with our mission which states, “Mobility Lab nurtures innovations to a fundamental requirement of human life: transportation. It is a place of collaboration, education and continuous improvement for moving people in more healthy, efficient and sustainable ways.”