New App Could Allow For An Easier & Smarter Commute Across Columbus


UPDATED: Thursday May 29, 2014 8:04 AM

Each day, buses from the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) travel routes that cover more than 500 square miles. Each year, more than 227,000 people ride those buses.

OSU also hauls thousands of students around campus. For some, the transportation is daunting.

"I don't take the bus because I don't understand the routes of anything," said OSU student Evan Geisler.

Now, those trips may get easier and more efficient, thanks a new smart phone app from Battelle Memorial Institute.

Battelle researchers worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation, COTA, and OSU campuses buses to come up with this pilot program. Users can enter their location, their destination, the time they want to leave and the app will do the rest.  It shows how long a walk to a bus stop, which bus to take, where to transfer and how long the ride.

Battelle Senior Researcher Tom Timcho said it also offers "connection protection."  "If something happens and there was a delay - maybe it took a little longer for somebody to get on a bus, or traffic - it would hold that outgoing bus for a period of time," Timcho explained.

The idea appealed to OSU employee Terra Metzger.

"It would actually make it very easy to get around the university, and I work off campus, so to get to campus without having to use my car," she said.

Timcho said if more people switch from cars to buses that would mean less pollution and fewer road repairs.

"We can't continue to build highways and infrastructure. It's very costly. So we have to find better, more efficient ways of using our transportation assets," Timcho said.

Artist Kevin Malcolm Jones nodded as he waited for a High Street bus.  "I think anything like that is an improvement," he said.

The Connect and Ride app is free, and can be downloaded by clicking here: Connect & Ride

This pilot program will run both in Columbus and in central Florida through December.

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