“How do young professionals and college students move around the city? How do they use roads and transportation systems? What influences their choices?”
Civil engineering Ph.D. student Simon Berrebi helped answer that question this week in the opinion pages of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As part of the newspaper’s weekly op-ed focus on transportation issues, Berrebi joined 27-year-old college English teacher Jessica Estep to explain how they use bicycles and technology to navigate Atlanta’s streets.
Berrebi wrote, in part:
Like any self-respecting student, I was running late for class by the time I left my apartment in the up-and-coming mixed-use development around Ponce City Market.
Hopping on my bike, I logged onto the CycleAtlanta app to record my trip and climbed the Beltline path from Kroger. I have a symbiotic relationship with my bike, so it was no surprise when my front tire popped in a sardonic deflation. My first instinct was to take MARTA, so I looked up arriving buses with the OneBusAway real-time smartphone app, but the next one was predicted to arrive in 20 minutes. I ended up ordering an Uber and arrived to class in style with customary lateness.
Like many people of my generation, I use my phone to travel through the city, and juggle between transportation modes. Real-time information is changing travel patterns as it allows users to make last minute plans and to change their route spontaneously. Ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft are taking over the taxi market by providing a cheaper and more reliable alternative. Interactive navigation tools like Waze inform drivers on traffic congestion, and provide a trip planner to avoid it. Since the recent opening of MARTA’s vehicle-positioning feeds, transit riders have access to real time information and get notified of service disruptions through the MARTA app and OneBusAway.
Berrebi also highlighted his work with the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Urban Transportation Information Lab in the piece. (Scroll about halfway down to see Berrebi’s guest column.)