BOSTON (CBS) — The next time you board a bus or a train in greater Boston, you could get a tour of the route.
Alight is an app developed by grad students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It works like this: you board a bus, like we did at M.I.T., you open the app, and it’s loaded with information about landmarks along the route.
Alight also allows you to add your own information to the route for others on the app to hear, making it a crowdsourced audio tour of sorts.
Within this app is sophisticated technology: GPS that pins each spot you hit on the route, and an algorithm that learns your interests over time, and can tailor the audio tour to you.
Alight is still growing, right now the app has audio tours for just the M.I.T. bus and several MBTA bus routes.
They’re quickly expanding as part of a program at M.I.T. that encourages entrepreneurship.
“We’re part of an accelerator here at MIT, Design X, where we have funding, mentorship, physical space and really the time to work on our idea,” said Scott Middleton, Alight co-founder.
And with that support — Alight’s goals are ambitious: build a tour for every bus route in the country, mixing their own narration of landmarks with content from users.
It’s all in service of encouraging people to use public transportation, which will reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Ideally for us, every bus has its own alight tour with a lot of different content and people start riding the bus because it’s fun,” said David Wang, Alight co-founder. “You jump on any bus, and you begin to learn things you wouldn’t have learned before.”