New York City is about to get a lot more connected, as the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced the winner of its annual transit app contest. This year’s winner of the Best Overall App contest was Citymapper (Free), an app that gives real-time transit information on subways, buses and New York City’s famous CitiBike bike sharing program. Last year’s winner was Embark, a transit app that was later acquired by Apple for integration into the company’s own Maps app.
For winning the transit app contest, Citymapper developers were awarded $20,000 by the MTA and AT&T, which also takes part in the winner selection process.
For a long time, the MTA was resistant to using mobile applications, with limitations in wireless connectivity in many of its stations. Now, it seems the MTA is shifting its focus in improving these limitations and informing riders as much as possible.
AT&T is one of the few carriers that has teamed up with the MTA to provide cell service in select stations, which is now expanding uptown and to some of the outer boroughs. I can see Citymapper being very helpful because of the apps fine attention to detail, giving riders information on station shutdowns and service disruptions on all buses and trains. Service disruptions are a common thing on MTA trains so it makes sense to have an app that can inform you of them as soon as they happen.
The MTA has tried to develop its own applications in the past, though it seems that buzz around them has died down because of the application’s limited information on train lines.