Mass transit: It’s great to have, in a I-love-to-brag-to-my-friends-that-live-in-places-with-less-planned-infrastructure kinda way. But, also it’s the root of 105.3% of your recurring complaints re: living in a city. The truth about taking the DC metro is that it’s all fun and games until you actually need it. Then you’re left huffing and puffing, running for the Red Line only to find out that it’s actually not working and you’ll have to walk to your destination, starting by putting one foot in front of the another in the direction from which you came. Yes, the underground doesn’t come without its trials and tribulations. However, one DC startup is out to make train-bound commutes a little easier, with the gift of foresight. The company? TransitScreen.
In a short snippet on their homepage, the startup quips: “ At TransitScreen, we believe in the power of information to help people make smarter decisions about how they get around cities.” In short, the company was created to help people make smarter decisions about how they’re getting from A to B. On electronic display screens, their system shows city dwellers all of their transportation options (ranging from public transport to biking), at one simple glance. The system is a good way for busy folks to better preserve one of their most precious commodities: time. A SmartCities article details the company’s success thus far, saying:
“….”a company that curates local, real-time mobility information –– including bus and rail times, wait times for ride-sharing apps and the proximity of bike-and-scooter-share systems –– and displays it on screens in commercial buildings. The screens are located across more than 40 cities in the US and Canada, with some even sprinkled throughout the UK, Ireland, And France.”
The company was founded by Matt Caywood and Ryan Croft in DC back in 2013. In an article on SmartCities Dive, the company’s very startup trajectory is explained. Caywood first started the company in his garage, before eventually moving into the former 1776 startup incubator in DC. Fast forward to present day, when he and his employees work in an independent office. The company’s upward trajectory can be accredited to their decision to sell to real estate clients, as the displays are most commonly found in commercial offices, apartment buildings, hotels, restaurants, and university buildings.
To cities, TransitScreen’s appeal is the fact that it has the possibility to make productivity soar. A report from McKinsey Global Institute highlights the positive effects that smart mobility applications can have on commute times:
“When a resident looks at real-time traffic data and decides to set out at a less busy time, she avoids adding another car to the road that would worsen congestion for everyone. Millions of individual decisions and actions add up, making the city as a whole more productive and responsive.”
In addition to screens, which give users a recap of commuting options at a quick glance, TransitScreen has also developed a rating system the company calls a “MobilityScore.” According to TransitScreen Communications Manager, Rachel Karatis, “MobilityScore is basically everything you see on the TransitScreen quantified into a number.”
The number falls between 0-100, and gives a snapshot of how accessible transit is from any address. In the realm of real estate, it’s an additional tool to compare options with, especially for those dependent on transit options supplied by the city.
So, will TransitScreen be coming soon to a building near you? One can only hope! Until then, it’s all of us vs. The Red Line. I know who I favor to win…