I’ve been so caught up with the technologies being used by San Francisco lately (CycleTracks, SFPark) that I’ve perhaps missed some of the other innovative projects happening around the US. Seattle has recently launched go520 in collaboration with Avego, a software, hardware, and consulting company focused on improving transportation efficiency.  Avego partnered with Microsoft, which has an office outside of Seattle accessible by State Route 520 (hence the name go520), to develop the go520 app for the Windows Phone 7 (an iPhone app is also on the market).  Employees were all given Microsoft Phones and hundreds have already installed and started using the app for their commute.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdxd7EXY-Ak&w=440&h=280]

The pilot of go520 is funded by the State of Washington and includes 250 commuters with space for 750 passengers in their vehicles.  The app matches commuters with passengers along their route in real time.  It manages the whole process from pick-up to drop-off using GPS and automated mobile payments (there’s a financial incentive to participate as drivers split the cost of their commute with passengers they pick up; go520 also calculates that cost split automatically).

If it sounds interesting to you and you live in the Seattle area, you should try attending one of the Meetups to find out more.

- Terra Curtis