Greater Good Studio seeks to create world's most competent transit app - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Greater Good Studio seeks to create world's most competent transit app

Courtesy of Greater Good Studio

The Designing Chicago app is in its planning stages at Greater Good Studio

MPC Research Assistant Ariel Ranieri authored this post.

You are furious and shivering. The bus was full (again!) and nobody told you it was going to rain. Now you’re soaking, your bag is soaking, your project portfolio for your boss is probably soaking, and you have to stand out here in the rain for another 10 minutes. You can’t even read your book.

Now what if there was a transit app that could change all that?

That’s the question on the minds of George and Sara Aye, co-founders of Greater Good Studio. Currently at work on “the mother of all transit apps,” the duo hopes that via a network of volunteers, they can research, design, and build the world’s most competent transportation tool.

Sound like a tall order? Take a look at this video to see just how tall it really is:

Suggestions for the app include reminding you to bring an umbrella when it’s raining, telling you how much gas money you’ve saved, and even relaying information back to the CTA, so they know where to put new stops in the future. Nifty? Nifty.

While the project’s Kickstarter (crowd-sourced funding for creative projects) campaign has now expired, Greater Good Studio maintains a confident outlook: “Post-Kickstarter, we’re doing it on our own, which will definitely slow things down,” admits George. “But by summer next year we should have something we can show people.”

The research phase relies heavily on public input. “There’s something inherently profound when you give in to the idea that there is an enormous reservoir of knowledge sitting in the public’s heads,” says George. “If we’re smart enough to ask the questions that unlock that knowledge, then we end up with a profoundly different app and experience than if it was just me and a small team.”

Volunteers will conduct assignments in and around CTA that take them outside their comfort zone.

Belmont VolunteerA volunteer at work at the Belmont CTA stop. Courtesy of Greater Good Studio

“Transit gets very numbing,” says George. “If you’re a North Sider who has to act like a South Sider in a wheelchair, the experience is very different, very eye-opening.”

For MPC, this app represents a big component of future transit planning. In this day and age of mobile connectivity, people increasingly find that the power is – quite literally – in their hands. By promoting this app, MPC hopes to increase public awareness of the benefits not only of transit, but of transit-oriented mobile tools.

Even though the app didn’t end up hitting its Kickstarter goal, the idea is a brilliant one. Chicago needs this app, and Greater Good Studio is determined to see it through. “We really appreciate the amount of faith everyone has had in us so far,” says George. “We hope we can do right by them.”

To learn more about the project or to sign up as a volunteer, visit http://designingchicago.com/.

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