OnTheBus: GPS for public transit
If you’ve ever been stuck in a city where you can’t rent a car, you’ve probably learned to hate their bus system. Fortunately, as with all things, there’s an app in development that allows you to navigate public transit without killing anybody.
Called OnTheBus, and designed to be usable by just about everybody, the app mixes GPS and walking directions to put you, well, on the bus. Here’s a demonstration:
It’s fairly straightforward to use: first, you select a route, and it gives you GPS walking directions to the closest bus stop. Once there, and once you grab the bus, it uses your GPS, compass, and accelerometer to track how far along the route you are, and how many stops it will be before you arrive. It even prompts you to ring the bell at the correct time.
It’s built to be accessible: you can hear walking and bus directions over headphones so you don’t need to pull out your phone, for example. The idea is that anybody, whether blind, deaf, or just lost, can pop open the app and use it to get around.
As it’s been developed by a Spanish college, currently it’s only available for Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome, but they’re adding new cities constantly, and the app comes in an English version. And, hey, European public transit needs an app anyway.