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The secret to smart transit

Nobody wants to feel stranded when they're using transit. But how can cities update their transit systems to make less headaches for passengers without spending a lot of cash?
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Written by Tyler Falk on

Nobody wants to feel stranded when they're using transit. But how can cities update their transit systems to make less headaches for passengers without spending a lot of cash?

Civic leaders and city innovators tackled the issue of urban transit at the Vancouver Cities Summit. The Vancouver Observer talked with Gordon Feller, Director of Cisco Systems’ Urban Innovations program, who spoke at the summit. His suggestion for smarter transit systems? Opening transit data to boost innovation. Here's Feller:

“It’s not something that the city has to spend money to develop. Third parties will develop it, and the city can take advantage of it,” Feller explained during an interview.

“That’s the story that we’re increasingly seeing with the most successful cities, that transit and transport systems are being transformed not by the city’s own initiatives, but by third parties. And when the data is opened in the transit system, that can happen.”

And it's not just being touted by private companies, like Cisco. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also thinks that open data is a key for transit agencies to be successful.

Google Transit, for example, doesn't work if transit agencies don't open up their data to the public to bring up-to-date information to potential passengers.

Big companies like Google aren't the only ones who find open data useful. Smaller startups are taking the data and creating amazing apps that make using transit easier and more convenient. It's a task that would otherwise be costly and time consuming for cities.

Key to smart transit is data sharing, experts say at Cities Summit [Vancouver Observer]

Photo: TheeErin/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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