There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting in traffic, car idling lazily while wasting gas and emitting carbon monoxide into the air. In many big cities, you might have just as easily hopped on the bus, taken the subway, rode a bike or simply walked. But figuring out which method is fastest would take just as much time as navigating rush hour. Not anymore. RideScout, a mobile application that provides real-time information on how to get around your city, is disrupting the transit industry, one download at a time. RideScout allows you to compare all transportation options — including city buses and trains, taxis, car-shares, biking, walking and driving — to determine the quickest and cheapest ways to get from Point A to Point B without completely losing your cool. “Our vision statement is seamless door-to-door transportation,” RideScout cofounder and Army veteran Joseph Kopser told The Atlantic Cities. “What I mean by that is every safe, legal, and reliable way that’s out there, we want to bring to you in the palm of your hand or onto your desktop so you can have all your options.”
The Washington, DC-based startup, which first launched in the area in November with big support from city officials, recently got a facelift, adding more features, like the ability to inform users how many empty slots are at the nearest Bikeshare station, or ping them when it’s time to leave the house to catch the bus or train. The app is available on the iPhone and Android phones (in beta), but is currently only fully optimized — meaning that it offers the most variety of transportation options — in DC and Austin. More transit options will become available in other U.S. cities soon. Eventually, Kopser and his partner, Army friend Craig Cummings, hope to expand into international markets.
At its core, RideScout is more than just a tool to help people combat traffic. By being able to quickly partner with more transportation services, Kopser and Cummings hope to persuade users to reconsider their dependence on cars, while increasing transportation efficiency and reducing drunk driving. “Our communities, our cities and suburbs, we can’t sustain a car-centric life going forward in this country,” Kopser said. For these reasons, RideScout was named the winner in the Smart Cities category at the Challenge Cup DC Regional Competition, a startup competition. The company will compete against other big “Smart Cities” ideas in the Challenge Cup Global Finals and Festival in May. No matter how they fare at the event, RideScout could become a model for building smarter, more connected communities with efficient transportation systems.