Jukebox Helps Travelers Find The Best Way To Get To Their Destination
TransitScreen Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Croft discusses how a for-profit company can enact positive change in a community
Alternative transport modes, like Uber and Lyft, have skyrocketed in the past few years alone. With more on the way, consumers are faced with multiple decisions on how to get from point A to point B. People not only want to get the best bang for their buck, but also want to know the fastest, most accessible routes. Ryan Croft, Co-Founder and CEO of TransitScreen, is a firm believer that every person should have access to transit information.
“Everyone simply can’t drive themselves, there’s not enough space on the road and too many accidents involved with it. We see it as a mobility revolution. We’re simply the information layer so folks can make educated decisions, and we want to make cities better,” says Croft.
This is the driving philosophy behind TransitScreen. Launching from a civic technology project at Mobility Lab, the platform has provided city walkers with a plethora of real-time transport information on LCD flat screens in hotel lobbies, coffee shops, hospitals and other public spaces. Since its inception in 2013, the company has spread to five countries, offering information on bus times, taxi and ride-sharing options in 33 different cities and in 10 different languages.
Advocating for fluency in transportation options led Croft to team up with TouchTunes, a music and entertainment jukebox system available in over 65,000 bars and restaurants in North America and Europe, making it the largest in-venue interactive platform. For Croft, the collaboration was so successful because, simply, it just made sense.
“I think we’ve always realized, as a founding team, we knew that this information is relevant anywhere. It’s where people live, where they work, where they go out. To that extent, we want to be anywhere where people are, so when the opportunity presented itself to work with a brand and a network like TouchTunes, it just seemed like the perfect fit. Why not put our information on the screen during the course of the night, or especially near closing time? Let people get information on Uber, buses, light rail, streetcars, subway—when they need it most, when they shouldn’t be driving home.”
Croft states that the effort was symbiotic as well, both parties truly benefitted from it—with TouchTunes having more features, and TransitScreen gaining a wider audience. Because TouchTunes is a jukebox and karaoke platform available in bars, the process for implementing TransitScreen involved tweaking the interface.
“It almost naturally filters itself. We don’t want to provide anything where someone could drive themselves—either on a bicycle, or in a car. We remove all car-sharing data, and we remove bike-sharing data.”
PSFK asked Croft about the importance of TransitScreen in a world where users have an abundance of apps to give them contextual information; you can flip through a variety of apps in seconds on any smartphone. Croft spoke about not only the seamlessness of TransitScreen—but also its community-oriented atmosphere. Likening it to the arrival and departure boards in an airport terminal, Croft says it’s “effective because they’re easy…simple… [and] they’re right there, you don’t have to do anything.”
Both TransitScreen and TouchTunes have a similar goal: to engage audiences collectively. The partnership with TouchTunes also presents an exciting opportunity for a variety of brand partnerships—for example, Pernod-Ricard USA sponsored this initiative as part of a campaign to promote drinking responsibly and traveling safely. Ryan Croft sees this as a crucial stepping stone in a long-standing relationship with his consumers. “We’ve always looked at is as we want to build out the network. Once we build out the network large enough, nationally and internationally, there could be an opportunity to monetize it in a variety of ways,” says Croft.
While TransitScreen is engaging its audience through new outlets, their top priority is making cities better through accessible information.
Transit information is available on 200 of TransitScreen’s jukeboxes across major U.S. cities, though Croft hopes that by 2017 that number will reach over 10,000.