The Smartwatch Transit App: Making Public Transportation Easier


Article by Paloma Basilio | 711 words

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could reduce the amount of toxins released into the air we breathe? We all know that numerous motor vehicles on the road every day are causing our quality of air to suffer. So, measures such as using public transportation more frequently can help the situation.

The Ecological Benefits of Public Transportation

Public transportation used to be how people got around before most individuals could afford their own cars. Rush hour wasn’t as hectic as it is today because there weren’t so many cars on the road (all burning fossil fuels).

Public transportation helps limit the amount of chemicals released into our atmosphere—a fact we should deeply appreciate. According to, “motor vehicles collectively cause 75 percent of carbon monoxide pollution in the US. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) estimates that on-road vehicles cause one-third of the air pollution that produces smog in the US.” The air quality can improve by having more people use public transportation, which will result in cleaner, breathable air.

The trouble with public transportation is keeping track of the running times. If you’re lucky, there is a paper schedule, but those times are just an estimate. Access to transit schedules in real time would help commuters get to their destinations in a timelier manner. Installing screens with time schedules at every transit station is helpful, but only in places where a large number of people can see them. Otherwise, such screens become unnoticed wastes of money.

Meet the Smartwatch Transit App

Chris Schlitt has created a smartwatch equipped with an application that displays accurate transit times. As he shares on the project’s Kickstarter page, Schlitt came up with the idea by asking himself, “What information could be vitally useful while you’re on the move, but accessible with no input and just a glance?” The answer: “Transit times.”

With that in mind, Schlitt’s team “set out to build the simplest, easiest and most useful transit app for the Pebble watch. We just released the first version of the app, which supports the subway and commuter regional rail lines (in real-time including delays) of the beautiful city of Philadelphia: Philly Transit ( We already love the app so much we decided to take it one step further”—trying to make it compatible with more cities.

Transit App

Schlitt’s program lets you know how late or early your train is running with a simple glance at your wrist. “The app works by determining your location and displaying the upcoming train departures for the nearest five stations,” as Schlitt explains. “In addition to the departure times the app also shows delays and cancellations, allowing you to know your train will arrive even if it is late.”

The app also seeks to help users bypass all those big, confusing display boards. These schedule boards are constantly changing, so a person must stand there and wait for all the times to roll by in order to catch the arrival time for their train. But Schlitt says that, with the smartwatch app, the user can customize the settings so that only the train times needed are shown.

Schlitt eventually hopes to add more cities nationwide. With the release of the new Apple Watch, he anticipates launching their app with these cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, Boston, Seattle, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Munich, Frankfurt, London and Madrid. According to Kickstarter, Schlitt says, “If your city isn’t listed here, don’t fret! By early summer 2015, we expect to support over 20 cities in the United States alone.”

The Kickstarter Fundraising Goal

Schlitt and his team would like to raise $5,000 by March 8, 2015. Schlitt and his crew plan to expand to other cities and platforms such as Android, Samsung and the Apple Watch. The donations will help cover server costs, hours of coding, field testing and other obligations that will come with the development of this application. Donations made of $5 or more will receive the app for free on every platform the team releases it for. When a person donates $50 or more, Schlitt will prioritize their city of residence when making the app compatible with more cities.

To learn more about this application and how you can donate please visit:

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