Train cancelled? Road closed? Navigating a city isn’t always easy. TransitScreen gives urban mobility a welcome boost with real-time travel information, allowing you to pick the best possible route.

Commuting in a city can sometimes be tricky. Whether it’s getting stuck in traffic jams, squeezing onto jam-packed public transport, or hunting high and low for a bike-share station: Travel gripes are part of urban life.

To ease the experience, there are various apps on the market – like Citymapper or our previous app of the week, “Travalarm” – which are designed to answer your transport queries with real-time information that helps you get where you need to go as fast as possible. But using these apps means you need to rely on your phone and actively seek out the information yourself in order to plot a seamless journey.

TransitScreen makes all travel data available at a glance

San Francisco-based startup TransitScreen pursues a different idea. To make our lives easier, and bypass urban planning, TransitScreen pulls together travel data in various locations and then projects all of this information onto a monitor. This means no more scrolling through your phone – all the travel data is available at a glance.

“The idea is very analogous to an airport,” explains Ryan Croft, TransitScreen’s chief operating officer. “More often than not, you’ll be looking at the screens rather than using an app or looking at your ticket. You glance at the screens, get your information, and walk. We’re creating that scenario for the real world.”

TransitScreen works with public, private, and semi-private partners to receive new travel and transport data feeds every 30 to 60 seconds. This means the information is frequently refreshed and includes everything from train and bus departures to car-sharing opportunities, bike-hire systems, and taxi availability for improved urban mobility.

“We pull in all this data and the special sauce is finding a way to create all the data sets on the back end and making it user friendly on the front end,” says Ryan.

SmartWalk has the potential to be a real urban asset

TransitScreen is currently collaborating with various multinational companies to install screens in their office buildings, so staff can make the most of the real-time transport information.

It’s not just office workers who benefit, though. The public now has access to this information, too. Central to TransitScreen’s proposition is SmartWalk, which takes all of the travel information out of offices and into the streets – literally.

With SmartWalk, the transport data is physically projected onto pavements and walls so anyone can access it. Rather than having to install a monitor, SmartWalk relies on a web-enabled projector, a space on which to project the images, and a permit (if necessary). It’s a deceptively simple idea that has the potential to be a real asset for urban life.

“Transportation is the backbone of all cities”

“We even have [a SmartWalk projector] in a bar up the road,” says Ryan. “If your train is late, you can stay for another beer to avoid waiting on the platform.”

It’s little wonder that the idea has captured people’s imagination around the world. Ryan says there’s been interest from Sweden, the UK, Spain, France, and countries in the Middle East.

“Access to information is vital and transportation is the backbone of all cities,” he says. “With data, anything is possible. We think people are smart – they make the right decision when they have all the information.”

For more information, check out the TransitScreen website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter!

All images, incl. the header image: TransitScreen