OSU students develop mobile apps for transit riders

Riders board a Corvallis Transit System bus at the Downtown Transit Center on Thursday morning. Corvallis Transit System is benefitting from some new apps that make it easier on riders to know where the buses are.(Andy Cripe | Corvallis Gazette-Times)

Corvallis Transit System riders have some new mobile apps to help them know where their bus is and when it might be coming to their stop.

And the transit system didn’t have to lift a finger — or spend a dollar — to develop the technology, although the city contributed approximately $50,000 to a $500,000 project that produced the open source data that helped fuel the apps.

Members of the Oregon State University Policy Analysis Lab and the OSU App Club held a 36-hour “hackathon” in April in which three new apps were developed that add to the apps the city has produced.

The OSU Policy Analysis Lab is housed in the School of Public Policy and gives graduate students opportunities to apply the education to real-life policy issues such as increasing ridership for the CTS.

The OSU App Club is an on-campus club for people interested in making applications for mobile devices.

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“All of these apps are free and will remain free as a public service to the community,” said Ian Davidson, a graduate research assistant at OSU’s School of Public Policy.

The various apps provide up-to-date information about bus routes, stops, and arrival time.

“Occasionally the posted arrival time on a bus stop is different than the actual arrival of a bus,” Davidson said. “This app bridges that difference and gives real-time data.”

OPAL and the university will be covering the costs of hosting the data that is used for the apps, Davidson said.

The apps were officially released May 16. Riders also can use mobile apps developed in 2013 by the city that are available at corvallistransit.com/mybus.

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.