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  • 09.19.14

Give Your City New Bus Routes With This Sleek Planning Tool

Transitmix lets anyone draw new bus routes across a city–and see how much it would cost.

If you’ve ever fantasized about a better transit system for your city–or perhaps if you just want bus routes to be more convenient for getting to work–here’s a new way of making your feelings known. It’s called Transitmix.

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Developed by fellows at Code for America, Transitmix is an online tool that lets you draw bus routes across any city. Just click on a point and drag your fantasy into place. You can even set your own schedule and see how much it will cost to operate (excluding labor).


“It lets anyone sketch a transit line and see the trade-offs between service, scheduling, and cost, and then be able to share with the public,” says Tiffany Chu, part of the five-person team that designed the system.

Transitmix grew out of a hackathon in January and was inspired by Streetmix, a street planning tool developed by the 2013 class of Code for America fellows. Chu’s team wanted to “democratize transit planning,” but professional planners have also expressed interest in using it.

“We discovered what we had designed, which was kind of a fun tool, really turned out to fill this niche in the workflow of transit planners everywhere,” she says.

Chu says many departments don’t have sophisticated tools for bus-routing. They rely on a combination of map print-outs, marker pens, transparent paper, Google Maps (for distance calculations) and Microsoft Excel (for cost analysis). “It is a very complicated multi-step, multi-tool process that takes a ton of time and is not very collaborative,” she says.

Chu’s team, which also includes Sam Hashemi, Danny Whalen, Dan Getelman and Lyzi Diamond, is now exploring the possibility of a “pro” version (to complement the open tool) and perhaps an outreach version that would help cities communicate plans for new routes (or modifications to existing ones).

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The maps in the slide show were made by particularly enthusiastic transit planning fans in four cities. Take a look at Transmix for yourself here.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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