Wanted: smartphone app for ride sharing

We live in a part of South Seattle that has an imperfect transit system.  It’s imperfect because of the gaps in the system, which requires transit riders to walk for long distances to find an available bus or train stop.  That’s ok for Deborah and I; and our young daughter.  But it’s not ok for the senior citizens who might also be carrying groceries or other cargo from a shopping trip.  It occurred to me this situation could be improved with some technology added to the mix.

Imagine a smartphone that enables transit riders to post their location and their final destination [or at least the direction they’re headed in].  Next, imagine drivers of private vans, multi-passenger cars or similar vehicles reading these posts and responding if they’re close to a rider who posted.  Perhaps this is only a transit system gap filler to get riders from their homes to a bus or train stop.  That’s good enough for someone carrying two heavy bags at distances greater than a mile.  This smartphone app is even better for the transit system if drivers who take riders to a bus or train stop also pickup riders for a return ride.

I’ll try to find a few Microsoft Research papers or videos that have similar ideas about transit system efficiency.

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