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DC Launches Technology to Provide Real-Time Transportation Information

Saturday, September 15, 2018
APIs provide developers access to backend data to enhance third party apps

Today, the Department of For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) is making it easier for digital developers to integrate urban mobility options into a single app by introducing the “Where Are the Taxis” application program interface (API). This API is an interface that allows one application to talk to another application through simple commands.

The Bowser Administration is committed to enabling innovative and forward-thinking solutions to support the evolution of accessible and affordable rides in the District,” DFHV Director Ernest Chrappah said during the 31st Annual Conference of the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) in Philadelphia, PA. “The API strategy enables transportation as a service to reduce marketplace inequities and overcome barriers to entry for entrepreneurs, developers, and change makers.”

Previously, there was no central source for finding licensed drivers, vehicles, estimated fares, or projected arrival time. Rather, developers who were interested in building transportation apps had to seek out multiple taxi companies and build around inconsistent data sources.

The release of this API comes during the IATR Conference where DFHV Director Chrappah led a panel discussion on leveraging data to position transportation as a service; and follows the inaugural DFHV Transportation Challenge which had four teams present innovative ways to experience ride hailing, taxis and limousines in the District. The strategic objective is to develop programs and policies to overcome transportation barriers, expand economic opportunities and reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

Access to the “Where Are the Taxis” API can provide real-time taxi and limousine availability on display boards in the metropolitan area to offer transportation options and arrival information. Interested parties must register at the DFHV Developer Portal.