February marked one year since the launch of OneBusAway’s StopInfo feature, a web-based collection of information about bus stops that was created to help visually-impaired transit riders locate stops. While the basic data about bus stops in the application came from King County Metro, the rest is contributed by transit riders in the community using the OneBusAway iOS app or the website. StopInfo will also be incorporated into the next release of OneBusAway Android.
Over the past year, transit riders have submitted information for over 1000 unique bus stops in the Seattle area, and the numbers are still climbing. But as with any contribution-based project where the information collected is subject to change over time, maintaining a stable level of contributions is crucial toward long-term adoption and success. That’s why my research team at the University of Washington has been focused on learning what motivates people to contribute, and adding in features that support these values and motives. For example, an initial study discovered that sense of community was important to many contributors, and therefore are working on a feature that allows contributors to respond to direct requests for information from other community members.
If you’d like to give your own input on what might matter to you when contributing information, or suggest potential new features for StopInfo, we have created a form for feedback here. It takes about 20 minutes to complete, and also includes a chance to win a $50 gift card of your choice. Feel free to pass it on to other transit riders (near or far) as well!
We’ve appreciated all of the help that Seattle Transit Blog readers have offered us in the past, and want to ensure that this project remains a community-driven effort. As we’ve started to see recently, speaking out in support of better information tools can benefit developers, transit agencies, and Seattle-area riders alike.