MagicBus for iOS fills a dire need at the University of Michigan - knowing where the university's blue buses are. Buses are a necessity to engineers, art students, musicians, and other students who live and work on U of M's north campus, as well as the thousands of university and university hospital employees. Unfortunately this summer saw some changes to the buses mapping data provider, and those changes broke all existing ways of accessing information about when and where buses would be arriving. In order to fix this and improve the ease of my own daily life as well as the other thousands of students I share the university with, I created the MagicBus iOS app.
MagicBus allows bus riders to go through a list of all bus stops on campus and see, individually for each stop, a time of arrival estimate for many different bus routes. They can also save certain locations as favorites for easy access in the future. If they're curious about where exactly a bus is or where it's heading, they can open a map view and see the route of every bus on campus. In addition to providing a basic bus location functionality for users, I also decided to push the limits of iOS's and my own abilities and build an notification center widget to complement the app. The widget allows users to quickly view the next few buses arriving at their favorited bus stops, so they can see where to go without ever even opening the app. As more of our information becomes glanceable and bite-sized, I feel that the inclusion of a widget for lightning-quick information access is an important addition to this service, and one that other services and apps will hopefully adopt soon. I plan to add a few more features to the app in the coming weeks before publishing it on the App Store so it can be used by everyone.