Better Data -> Better Apps -> Better Transportation

Last night’s New York Public Transit Data Summit was a resounding success. We had a room packed with passionate and thoughtful people eager to help make public transit in New York more efficient, accessible, and and easy to use.

For more than two hours, the group — comprised of over two dozen transit advocates, mobile and web developers, urban planners, lawyers, and open government supporters — discussed the current climate for developing transit applications, its shortcomings, and how the community can work with the MTA to improve things.

transit-meetup-small

While no representatives from the MTA were able to attend, the MTA did provide a statement clarifying their current licensing policies. The statement answered many questions but also raised some more. I’ve forwarded those questions on to the MTA and will post their responses as soon as I get them.

Here are some specific items that came out of last night’s meetup:

1. We’ve started compiling notes and thoughts on the Ideas wiki. Check it out at http://nytransitdata.org. Anyone can register and contribute freely.

2. The group decided on #nytransit as the best hashtag, since it’s not too specific, not too general, and not too long.

3. Everyone wanted to keep the momentum going and stay in contact. Since there are already a number of mailing lists and groups working on related projects, we decided not to start another Google group. If you want to stay in contact please join the meetup, and keep an eye on the Open Government NYC, Transit Developers, and Civic Hacker mailing lists.

4. There are lots of tangible next steps to work on. If you care about seeing this issue move forward, please lend a hand. Help draft our one-page issue summary. Fill in holes on the wiki. Fix typos. Tell other developers and interested friends, colleagues, and groups. Get the word out by blogging and tweeting.

Let’s make sure that the wonderful momentum we all built last night doesn’t fade. Together we can help New York take the lead in providing access to transit data and enable a flood of innovation that will revitalize the city’s transportation infrastructure.

Update 8/28: I’ve posted the MTA’s responses to the questions asked at the summit on the wiki (direct link to the PDF).

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