BART Implements Augmented Reality at the Transit Platform [Interview]

Imagine pointing your cell at a building and getting all the info about the businesses there, any retail or rental space up for lease, and even the history of the neighborhood downloaded right to your fingertips. This is augmented reality, and it has been a reality for people living in the Bay Area for a few months now.

Imagine pointing your cell at a building and getting all the info about the businesses there, any retail or rental space up for lease, and even the history of the neighborhood downloaded right to your fingertips. This is augmented reality, and it has been a reality for people living in the Bay Area for a few months now. The San Francisco public transit company BART has partnered with junaio, creators of a mobile augmented reality browser, to provide real-time information to transit riders. Want to know exactly when the next train will come? Or where the closest stop to Castro is? Simply point your phone and you’ll get the answers. We got a chance to speak with Lisa Murphy, Product Marketing Manager at junaio, about augmented reality at the bus stop.

What inspired the partnership between BART and Junaio?
Our inspiration for the partnership stemmed from wanting to provide transit riders an easier and faster way of accessing transit information wherever the user is. Many of my friends are from out of town and to get around SF, they want to know where the BART trains are and when the trains will come. Augmented reality is a perfect way of overlaying these digital information in the real world to make it super intuitive and easy for the users to find where it is, and how often a train comes.

Can you briefly describe some of the functionality that transit riders get out of the BART Junaio app?

Using the BART channel on junaio, riders can:

  1. Find where the nearest train stations are
  2. View live and up-to-the-minute train schedules for the train station
  3. Access routing option to route the user there on Google maps
  4. Link to the Bart station’s homepage to see if there are any emergency alerts or service outages

Do you have any statistics or number about the usage of the BART app? i.e. How many people are using it, what they are using it for?

BART is one of our most popular channels in San Francisco. I don’t have specific numbers, but most folks use it to find stations and a good proportion use it to look up when their trains are coming.

What are some of the other more popular uses of Junaio’s technology?
BART is one of the transit agencies we work with – we have also partnered with Portland Trimet and Boston Transit to provide transit information to the riders. Beyond government / transit partners, there are other channels of local information including some examples like:

  • Publishing: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazine (image recognition / print)
  • Local Content: Worksnug by TabWorldMedia (geo-location) finding cafes around you
  • Art Exhibitions: Artopia – Art exhibitions in Netherlands
  • Movies: Kino.de – movie theatre locations, playlist of movies at each location, trailers and purchasing ticket from junaio

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Junaio has an open API for developers. They can use the API to create their own augmented reality applications for free. We are the most advanced AR browser and include features such as outdoor / indoor navigation and image recognition. We are developing an active developer community and would love to see more developers using the technology to create cool applications, or even cool and interactive games.