Behind the Buzzwords

SoLoMo: The bus stop App-ified

“SoLoMo” refers to the growing prevalence of localized social interaction between commercial entities and consumers through mobile devices. In a lot of ways, public transportation was the original SoLoMo. By definition, “mass” transit capitalizes on a Social human tendency, expands the concept of Local, and increases the Mobile capabilities of the individual. Of course, this is not how the term is used today in the tech and ad industries. Instead, SoLoMo is the bus stop, app-ified.

Where riders once had to rely on fellow straphangers to determine when the next bus would arrive (“How long have you been waiting?”), any individual with a cell phone can now tap into a wealth of highly contextualized and personalized transit information in seconds.

As transit agencies begin hardwiring their buses and subways to share data with world, social media expands your network of straphangers. The next time you’re heading out to catch the morning bus to work, search Twitter for your transit agency or route. Odds are that if you’re in a metropolitan area, you’ll see you’re not the only person that a) rides a bus and b) has a cell phone. In fact, you may find that your fellow riders themselves provide a vast amount of highly relevant transit information. Information flow is no longer a one-way street, and this trend is at the heart of SoLoMo.

Today, we have the capability to marry top-down information with organic user-generated content, enriching the experience for all parties. We’ve focused on leveraging this opportunity at Roadify, combining “big data” from transit agencies with contextualized on-the-ground reports from transit riders. With a simple design, users have access to information that is clean and efficient – two words you never thought would apply to public transit.  So go ahead, open that text you just got from Starbucks. You know the next bus is exactly 14 minutes away, more than enough time to use the Mocha Frappuccino Monday Special coupon you just received.

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About the Author

Dylan Goelz, Head of Marketing and Design, Roadify

Roadify aggregates real-time, official information about mass transit conditions with commentary from riders and Twitter into a single cloud-based platform. The company provides this information to riders in one tap, on a personalized screen in a mobile application. Publishers, enterprises and other apps can also access this data using Roadify as a single, scalable, dynamic source.  Roadify covers nearly twenty major cities in the US and Canada.