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This Company Uses Data to Make Getting Around Your City Easier

Kelsey Davis, Manager, Digital Media, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

We’ve all been there: You’re trying to get home after a long day and need to figure out which mode of transportation will be fastest. This is the dilemma that inspired Matt Caywood to create TransitScreen, a tech company that gives you information about your transportation choices.

We had a chance to speak with Caywood, the CEO and cofounder of TransitScreen (a Consumer Technology Association [CTA] member), about how he started the company and where they are going.

How did you begin TransitScreen? What gap in the market were you trying to fill?

TransitScreen first began as a project out of MobilityLab in Arlington, Va. I was trying to determine the best way to get home and was confronted with so many options at so many different locations. There was no convenient way to compare them all at the same time without jumping between one bus schedule and a train schedule and thinking about if there were bike shares nearby.

That's the problem we wanted to solve —the solution being having all of your transportation options available to look at in real-time, at a glance. We initially thought that our product would work best for cities and transit agencies, but we got such a huge response from the real estate industry that they became our biggest customers.

How does the technology behind TransitScreen work?

We take real-time data from transit agencies and private companies — through partnerships or public data — aggregate, polish, curate and display it. For each screen, the information is exactly what you need at that location, including bus, rail, bike share, Uber and Lyft and traffic. If there's data that helps you make a choice about how best to get around, we’ll include it.

With smart cities becoming one of the next big trends in tech, how does TransitScreen’s technology fit in?

Cities are only as smart as the people in them, and the information we make available helps people make informed decisions. As the mobility landscape changes, it's only going to be more important for people to be able to compare all their options directly.

We also see ourselves as a tool to help people get around cities in a sustainable way and reverse the effects of single-occupancy vehicles on cities and on the planet.

You recently launched a new product called MobilityScore. Tell us a little about how that works.

MobilityScore is a score from 0 to 100 that allows you to easily understand the transportation access at any address in the U.S. and Canada. Say you’re traveling to a city you’ve never been to before and trying to get a hotel or AirBnB - how do you know which one will be more convenient as a base for getting around?

MobilityScore takes all the mobility options at an address — transit, bike share, car share, Uber and Lyft — and measures their frequency, distance and accessibility. It essentially takes all the information you see on a TransitScreen and uses historical, real-time data to generate a score for how easy it is to get around that location.

What is next for TransitScreen?

Right now, we have big plans for MobilityScore. It’s a product that addresses a global need for simple transportation information. What we've rolled out is a beta version, and we're adding data for more and more cities every day. We'll soon have more data products available for real estate professionals, urban planners and others.

Learn more about the groundbreaking technology produced by CTA members.