• September 19, 2013

    PacTrans Summer Interns Produce New Seattle Bus Buddy Android Phone App

    Summer interns Jinglan Wang and Kevin Yang on the UW campus in Seattle

    Summer interns Jinglan Wang and Kevin Yang on the UW campus in Seattle

    As part of PacTrans’ outreach activities, PacTrans started a summer intern program in 2013 to attract talented high school and college students to work and study on transportation related issues. The first two students recruited to this program were Kevin Yang, an incoming high school junior at the Lakeside School in Seattle, and Jinglan Wang, an incoming sophmore at Wellesley College. Both students had demonstrated their talents by winning numerous awards in mathematics competitions. Particularly, Kevin won the 3rd place in Mathcounts National Competition in 2011 and received honorable mentions in both the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) 2013 and the United States of America Physics Olympiad (USAPO) 2013. Additionally, Jinglan is a talented athlete who won 4th place in the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships in 2012 when she was captain of the Lakeside School’s crew team. The two interns worked closely together at the Smart Transportation Applications and Research Laboratory (STAR Lab) of the University of Washington over the summer and produced an Android phone app called Seattle Bus Buddy (available for download at the Google Play Store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.starlab.busbuddy).

    The idea for Bus Buddy was born when Jinglan continuously napped through her bus stop, much to Kevin’s amusement. They decided that many Seattleites likely faced a similar issue and set to work. The application they created allows users to set a GPS enabled alarm for their respective bus stops so that those who tend to miss their stop for various reasons will no longer worry about it. This application is meant to benefit all public transit users, especially those who are visually impaired. With data support from Sound Transit, the pre-installed accessibility options on the Android phone allow the user to navigate and utilize the application conveniently. They hope that hey can someday develop an iPhone version of the application, or that the open source app will capture the interest of other developers who are willing to optimize it for various cities and languages.

    For more information about Seattle Bus Buddy or about interning at PacTrans, please contact pactrans@uw.edu.