Ryan Avent has a pair of great posts on how smart phones changes the dynamic of living in cities or using transportation. Read them here and here. One thing I would add is to his second post (which is the second link):

It’s also worth pointing out that smartphones and their apps are making being in and getting around a city increasingly easy and enjoyable. It could be that these apps are most effective in cities, or it could merely be that the early adopters are located most densely in big cities. Either way, smartphones make the experience of moving around a city increasingly rich.

That’s true but smart phones also promote using public transportation. For one thing, people really don’t like simply just not knowing when a bus or train is gong to come and there aren’t always convenient bus trackers like in D.C. that tell you how much longer the wait is. Apps like the CTA Bus Tracker solves that problem.

For another thing, apps that provide maps of the city or tell you which lines you need to take to get somewhere via public transportation are invaluable not just for tourists who can be easily intimidated by bus or train systems they don’t normally use, but also for urban-dwellers who don’t usually use public transit (like…erm…me…once upon a time).

As I see it, cities have a real convience-for-citizens incentive in developing transportation and map apps that make urban environments much more navigable.

Daniel

Daniel