Apps aplenty for commuters at LTA hackathon

Apps aplenty for commuters at LTA hackathon

A GROUP of technology professionals has created an app that will make it easier for people with disabilities to find a helping hand when they commute.

Called "Come Ride With Me", the prototype app was one of 20 developed at the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) Transport and You(th) Hackathon, which ended yesterday.

A group of six friends developed the app, which won the "Most Promising Transport App" award at the three-day competition.

The app will help the disabled by matching them to volunteers in their vicinity who can help them get to transport nodes such as MRT stations or bus stops.

"We've found that the disabled generally do not have problems (on public transport)," said Mr Verdy Yong, 30, one of the team members.

"The problem is getting from their house to the MRT station or bus stop, and from stations to their destinations."

These are often short distances where disabled-friendly facilities such as ramps might not be available, said Mr Yong.

A disabled user can send out "missions", to which volunteers within a 500m radius can respond.

The group hopes to work with volunteer groups, schools and private companies to build up a network of volunteers.

More than 180 participants joined the competition, making use of real-time transport information from LTA's DataMall.

The portal currently supports more than 40 apps, such as SG NextBus and Traffic@SG.

Five new datasets, including real-time data on bus arrivals and loads and taxi availability, were launched at the event.

LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said there were more than four million downloads on Wednesday alone when the enhanced bus arrival data was released.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew attended yesterday to present the prizes and tour an exhibition put up by finalists at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability.

PM Lee took selfies with participants and joked with them as he toured the room.

The budding developers showed off their prototypes - which ranged from an app that recommends a mode of transport based on the time the commuter has to get there, to another for cyclists that tells them how many traffic lights they face on their route.

In a Facebook post, PM Lee wrote: "I was encouraged to see their fresh ideas to improve public transport and help us become a Smart Nation."

dansonc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on April 20, 2015.
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