Hack Day Resulting in Transit-Screen Excitement

Ben Ball showing the custom transit screen he created for his office.

Local transit lovers created their own transit screens at Mobility Lab’s Hack Day this past Saturday. You might have noticed these screens if you’ve been to Java Shack in Arlington or the Red Palace bar in D.C.

The real-time displays show custom web pages on Mobility Lab’s website. In order to encourage more places to adopt this simple technology, we invited people to learn how easy it is to configure a custom screen.

The easier it is to see what your transit options are, the more likely you are to take advantage of public transit.

Hack Day was organized by Matt Caywood. He showed us how screens can be configured to show real-time transit data for a specific location, getting live data from Metrorail, Metrobus, ART, the Circulator, and Capital Bikeshare dock statuses. You can organize the display however you choose.

Colin McGlynn with a prototype transit screen for the Route 1 Ride project.

Colin McGlynn was one of the day’s participants. He plans on putting transit screens along the Route 1 Corridor in Prince George’s County as a part of the Hyattsville CDC’s marketing efforts for the Route 1 Ride bus service. That’s a great way to make it easier for passengers to transfer between different services.

The source code is freely available on GitHub (MobilityLab / TransitScreen). Everyone is welcome to participate by improving the code and adding new features. Testing is welcome too – let us know what the issues are.

We envision the screens being useful not just in cafes and bars, but in apartment lobbies and offices. Have an idea where a transit screen can make an impact? Send a note to matt.caywood@mobilitylab.org and we can help you get it set up.

Photos by Michael Schade

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