Study Shows Better Data & Apps Improve Public Transit Usage... So Why Do So Many Transit Authorites Block Useful Apps?

from the questions-worth-asking dept

We've noted before the odd fact that various transit authorities around the globe have been trying to stop people from making useful transit apps, with things like schedules and whatnot. The argument from those transit authorities is incredibly short-sighted. It usually has something to do with claims about how the scheduling data is "proprietary" and the authority's "intellectual property." The key point, of course, is that they're hoping to make money licensing the data. But that's really short-sighted. As some new studies are showing, better apps and technology make it much easier and enjoyable for people to use public transit. In other words, by allowing people to use the data to make better apps, they could get a lot more long-term riders. You would think that would be the goal...

Filed Under: data, openness, transit data


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2011 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re:

    and, if you think about it, taxi cab monopolies cost society more in terms of vehicle expense and fuel. So they result in more vehicles on the road and more fuel consumption.

    The free market naturally chooses the most efficient mode of transportation (to some degree). What are the social costs to vehicled transportation? Fuel and vehicle expenses. More cars and more fuel require more social effort to produce and maintain and so they cost more.

    Consumers (in a free market) naturally choose the mode of transportation that costs less (or, to be more specific, the combination of all consumers naturally choose the combination of transportation methods that collectively costs less) and these chosen modes of transportation cost less because they're cheaper to produce and maintain (fewer cars, less vehicle maintenance costs, and less fuel cost less because less of these things are being produced. Also, no taxi cab monopolies means that you have an entire industry willing to put the effort into figuring out how to save fuel every step of the way to cut costs, since that's part of their specialty. As a consumer, we're generally too busy to individually specialize in such things and for each consumer to individually implement strategies of cutting fuel costs creates unnecessary redundancies).

    Government imposed taxi cab monopolies exist because monopolists benefit from them. They benefit from them in the form of higher prices. More consumers are willing to pay for taxi cab transportation if the prices were lowered and part of the reason for that is that the lowered prices would reduce everyone's overall transportation costs. Hence it would reduce social transportation costs, those costs come in the form of vehicle expense and fuel costs and the cost in social effort of creating and maintaining more cars and producing more fuel (money can be seen as an attempt to represent effort/social effort). More cars and more fuel is what requires more social effort to produce and maintain and taxi cab monopoly abolition would result in people choosing cheaper transportation methods that are cheaper because they cost less in these things (and they cost less in these things because less of these things are necessary).

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