A Watch App That Finds Open Bikeshare Stations
If you live in the Washington, D.C., area, you’re probably familiar with Capital Bikeshare. And if you don’t, I bet the nearest American city might have something like it: A system of public bicycles available for rent, strategically placed throughout town for point-to-point trips. If you have a membership or a credit card, you can check out a bike at a kiosk, ride it to your destination and re-dock it at the nearest Bikeshare station. It’s one of my favorite things about the D.C. area.
But! There are few things more annoying than wrapping up a satisfying ride and pulling into bikeshare dock ... that is completely full.
The NY Ave @bikeshare corral is the most full I've ever seen it #SafeTrack pic.twitter.com/a65CUYYK05— peter dovak (@pdovak) June 6, 2016
It’s also a bummer to walk up to a station and discover that all the bikes have been taken.
@bikeshare I've emailed twice. My station is always full in AM, empty in PM. App shows there should be bikes. pic.twitter.com/C5dTQLcmk2— Catherine M (@catherineofalex) June 16, 2016
There are phone apps out there, like Spotcycle, that publish bike station statuses. But pulling out a smartphone in the middle of a ride doesn’t sound particularly safe. This is a perfect app for a smartwatch, however—a quick glance at your wrist could tell you if you’re headed for an empty station or a wall of docked bicycles.
Using data from Capital Bikeshare, I put together a quick app that pulls the user’s location, finds nearby bike stations and lists how many open slots they have. (Technical explanation here, code here.)
Here’s a GIF of the app in action:
I haven’t yet published the app to the Pebble store, but I’ll do that once I add a few more improvements. Nothing in the works for Apple Watches or Android products at this point, but who knows!