How a tech start-up and global brand are working together to make cities better5 minutes
Guest blogger Ryan Croft is co-founder and COO at TransitScreen, a global information company based in Washington, D.C.
TransitScreen was born from two people who saw the same problem from wildly different perspectives: There was myself, a fluent Spanish speaker who spent years traveling the cities of the world, and there was co-founder Matthew Caywood, who has a background in neuroscience and makes it his life’s work to understand how people consume information. The problem: Cities are inefficient. They suffer from congestion and related problems like pollution due to a lack of information. So we developed our D.C.-based software company to provide users real-time information on the most efficient ways to traverse their urban landscape.
We recently inked an agreement with Panasonic to increase scale. Our alliance will leverage connectivity, Big Data and analytics technologies to reduce traffic and travel time, lower transportation-related emissions and promote walkability.
The move to cities
The trend is unmistakable: Millennials are leaving the suburbs in favor of cities, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Forbes, in their recent analysis of the data, found that major U.S. metro areas added 1.09 millennial residents for everyone who moved to the suburbs. NYC had the highest influx, adding 2.17 millennials for every one that moved out. These migration trends are adding to the already congested cityscapes.
Many North American cities and private companies are investing in mobility to accommodate their growing populations. After nearly a century of discussion, planning and construction, NYC opened its Second Avenue extension earlier this year. Washington, DC launched the Silver Line on its Metro to connect suburban areas to the downtown core. But the investments and interest in mobility are more than just metro lines. Countless cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and Denver have developed bike share programs to augment car share services and disruptive alternatives such as Lyft and Uber.
Real-time info on new transit options
People in many cities have more transportation options than ever but need the real-time information to make the most informed decisions on how to utilize these services.
Today TransitScreen provides info to people in more than 30 North American cities including Austin, Seattle and Washington, DC, on which mode of transit is most efficient at that time. When Fenway Park crowds leave the ballpark, they can turn to a huge TransitScreen to figure out the best mode home. TransitScreen also provides traffic time data and helps people in hotels, hospitals and corporate and university campuses.
With our new strategic alliance, TransitScreen and Panasonic will bring advanced IoT applications to smart cities around the U.S. The two companies will bolster the infrastructure supporting urban transportation by combining Panasonic’s CityNOW integrated platform solutions, which are helping people live safer, healthier, more convenient and more energy efficient lives, with TransitScreen’s experience in simplifying complex data, software development, and personalized, human-centric design.
Not only will our strategic alliance increase our scale, but we will also be able to integrate our information software with Panasonic’s other solutions in the future. One technology I’m really excited about is Panasonic’s LinkRay. Imagine pointing a phone at one area of a TransitScreen – such as a Lyft section – and by doing so, order a car ride directly. Or, if it’s a better option, a person could point to the bus display and order and pay for their ticket right on their phone.