Columbus wants a transit app for trip planning, payments

Columbus, Ohio, and the Central Ohio Transit Authority want a single smartphone app to help people plan and pay for door-to-door transit, whether that involves bus trips, ride hailing services, bike sharing, paratransit or other options.

The Multimodal Trip Planning Application and Common Payment System would allow users  in the greater Columbus region to compare travel options -- including routes, schedules, booking and reserving -- and pay for their travel based upon current traffic conditions and availability of services, according to a recent request for proposals.

Anyone will be able to use the application for planning routes, and those with a common payment system account will be able to pay for the trips.

The system is key to the area's smart city initiative and tightly integrated with the Smart Columbus Operating System. Mobility providers will connect to the Operating System through an application programming interface, which will then make their services available to the trip planning application.

The application is being built to make transportation easier for citizens, but the city will also benefit from the data generated by the app and payment systems. It will be collected in the Operating System and used to forecast economic changes and travel behavior and guide public policy decisions.

The Los Angeles Metro is working on a similar planning and payment system it expects to release this fall. The L.A. project creates a cloud layer on top of existing infrastructure to allow third-party providers to join the service.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.

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