Operating like a Waze for public transport, Israel's Ototo app crowdsources real-time information from passengers to give users the best suggestions for their commute.
The problem with most transport apps is that they rely on fixed data from transport company schedules and don’t truly reflect exactly what’s going on with the city’s trains and buses at any given moment. Operating like a Waze for public transport, Israel’s Ototo app crowdsources real-time information from passengers to give users the best suggestions for their commute.
The app relies on a community of ‘Riders’, who allow anonymous location data to be sent from their smartphone whenever they’re using public transport. By collating this data together, Ototo offers more realistic information about bus and train routes. While a bus may be due in five minutes, a Rider currently on that bus might be located more than five minutes away, indicating that the bus isn’t on time. Ototo can then suggest a quicker route for users. According to Fast Company, the service currently has a 12,000-strong global Riders community that powers its travel recommendations. On top of this, the app is designed in an easy-to-use infographic format that quickly and efficiently tells users where they need to be going and how long it will take. The app is free to download from the App Store, and the video below offers a demonstration:
Ototo faces competition from similar services such as New York City’s Moovit, which also details how crowded buses are. Are there ways data from commuters’ smartphones can be used by transit companies to better structure their services?