KNOWtime app aims to ease transit headaches

KNOWtime team creates crowdsourcing app to receive “real time” transit information in Halifax

Xiaodan Jiang working on the design of the KNOWtime website. (Photo: Jessica Filoso)
Xiaodan Jiang working on the design of the KNOWtime website. (Photo: Jessica Filoso)

The team behind a new Halifax transit app is hoping to have their app in Apple’s App Store for Nov. 29, in time for the continuing apps4halifax competition.

KNOWtime is a crowdsourced transit app that will be able to give “real time” transit information to the Halifax community.

Crowdsourcing is a way to provide the public with a service by using contributed information from them.

Xiaodan Jiang and Heather McPeake, two of the team members who graduated from universities here in Halifax, say the app will use people’s shared signals to locate buses’ actual arrival and departure times instead of the scheduled times Metro Transit provides with its GoTime service.

“It will only work if people show their signal, so we have to be really good about building a community around the app,” McPeake says.

The KNOWtime team is currently working hard on gaining customer feedback from the Halifax community because the app depends on the community’s involvement.

The “minimum viable” product is almost complete, says McPeake, but they have a list of functions they hope to add in the future:

  • an alert to let you know when your bus will be arriving
  • an alert to let you know when your stop is next
  • an alert for the vision impaired to help ease the use of public transit

The team came up with the idea when a transit app was mentioned at the beginning of the apps4halifax competition, an ongoing data application contest, in September. The KNOWtime app team all met at this competition and went along to win first place at the Hackathon portion.

“Everybody wants to know if we are going to turn it into a business and sustain it. We are kind of working on those plans now,” says McPeake about the future of KNOWtime.