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Open Plans Launches Kickstarter Campaign To Fund New iPhone Transit App

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, July 23 2012

If funded, OpenTripPlanner Mobile will help people to navigate through cities more efficiently

The non-profit group Open Plans formally launched its Kickstarter campaign late last week to fund a new iPhone transit app that will integrate all the publicly-available transit feeds for cities in North America.

The group aims to raise $25,000 by August 18 to create a new app to demonstrate that it's possible to create useful new public transit apps on IOS6 that can replace the transit directions currently available on Google Maps. Many in the blogosphere had worried that the elimination of Google Maps as a default option on IOS meant that users would have to launch several different apps in order to figure out their public transit options.

If funded, the Open Plans' OpenTrip Planner App would provide iPhone users with public transit, walking and biking directions through one map. The app would integrate all the publicly-available transit feeds for North American cities.

Not all cities make their public transit information available as feeds that app creators can build around. But as The Atlantic Cities' Contributing Writer Emily Badger writes, more cities are starting to make their feeds available. She points readers to a useful site maintained by WalkScore'sCity-Go-Round, an online guide to transit apps. The site maintains a list of the largest public transit agencies in the United States with no publicly-available transit feeds. The list includes the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, but Badger reports that the Atlanta Regional Commission plans on making that data available this fall.

Apple created a mini-furore among public transit advocates in June when it became clear that it is replacing the default Google Maps app with its own version in IOS6. At the time that it was demonstrated at the Worldwide Developers conference, the app didn't appear to have integrated any public transit feeds.

Open Plans' Kevin Webb told us earlier this month why he thinks that the angst over Apple's move is misguided. The app is meant to demonstrate his point.