Tuesday, September 7, 2010

City Councils Save Millions Using Smartphone Apps

It's hard to believe that governments can actually save money but city councils in the UK have apparently saved taxpayers about $354 million. How? By using smartphone applications and location based services instead of more expensive alternatives. Smartphone Apps are being used to identify when the next bus will arrive and where road construction is going on. The consumer benefits enormously by avoiding congested areas and wasting time waiting for transport. Other applications include paying for your parking meter via your smarphone, reporting vandalism as it is happening, finding schools and libraries and even restaurants and pub hygiene ratings. 

Cities with public transport systems all over the world can benefit from smartphone Apps. Washington DC for example, uses the Next Bus App developed by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.  The App uses the GPS units in the system's buses to approximate arrival times at every bus stop on every route.  Because it is in real-time, the consumer knows about delays due to traffic congestion as it's all factored into the scheduled arrival times. The App also has a drop down list of every stop to pick from, in case you are not at your destination yet. With 12,000 stops in a busy city, commuters are sure to  appreciate this App.

Canada is also implementing this technology. The Société de transport de Laval’s public-transit authority is the first in Quebec to use GPS technology to let commuters know whether buses are running on time.  Laval has also implemented this App in Toronto's public transport system.  

If you're a commuter without a smartphone, these Apps alone should convince you to finally take the plunge.  

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