A mobile app that gives your alarm clock access to all the factors influencing your commutes.

What's the big idea?

Imagine an alarm clock with access to everything from the day’s weather and current traffic data to gas prices, parking information, and more. Routebook aims to understand your goals as a commuter and help you to achieve them by presenting relevant information in a way that makes sense to your groggy, half-asleep morning mind. Simply tell the application where you need to be when, and Routebook will provide you with the information you need to get their in the healthiest, greenest, cheapest, or quickest way possible.

Describe the nearest player in your field.

The best thing about Routebook is that there is really nothing like it. The closest alternative might be apps that offer real-time tracking for public transportation systems, but even these don’t exist in most cities.  And aside from reducing time waiting at the bus stop, they offer few benefits.

How are you different from that player?

Routebook differentiates itself from basic public transit tracking apps on every level. From integration with your alarm clock to consideration for all methods of transportation, and perhaps most importantly, a wide range of monetization possibilities, the uniqueness of Routebook is evident.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

Who isn’t interested in a quick coffee stop on their way to work or a speedy fill-up at the gas station? The highly targeted advertising that Routebook affords will appeal to both local and corporate businesses interested in sponsoring stops that users can add to their existing routes.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

The Routebook team is comprised of 3 creative and motivated innovators. We have the drive to ensure our app is seen through to its full potential and the detail-oriented mindset to continually meet the needs of our users. Above all, our genuine passion for this project makes us the perfect fit.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

Goals for Routebook at this point include the development of a functional app and submission to the App Store as well as continued research based on user needs and the app’s ability to transform commuter behavior over time.

There have been 9 replies to this page

  1. Jon Dodge

    This is a really good idea and I would absolutely purchase (I assume this would be a paid app model?).  Endorsed!

  2. Phil Threadgould

    I think the alarm clock is the only thing here that is different.  And even that is arguable.  A quick search of the Google Play store turned up a bunch of apps similar to what you are talking about.  Check out Routestir.  One of it’s claims is ...“Single alarm for weather & traffic together”...  The Google Maps API already contains tools that allow you to find the quickest method to get somewhere (with integrated traffic) including rail, car, walking, & bike.

  3. Jessie Whitmill

    Hi Phil! Thanks for your comment. You’re correct, Google Maps API does allow users to find the quickest method of transportation, however, we found that not all users are simply interested in getting somewhere the fastest. Some are interested in biking or walking to work to lose weight or reduce their carbon footprint. Routebook allows users to enter goals they can accomplish (like losing weight) by commuting and helps them complete those goals. I’m not sure if this was very clear above! Routestir looks interesting, but as far as I can tell, it offers only weather and traffic information. We’re hoping to include more information like area gas prices, parking information, bus stop locations, bus fare, and as stated above, places along your route to stop for coffee or a bite to eat.

  4. Matthew Patulski

    What region of the US is the test market for your App? Most transit systems in Michigan are not using an API.

  5. Chad O'Neil

    Great idea.  The bus system in the Champaign / Urbana, IL area uses an API.  There are many apps that have been made.  They’ve even have several contests for app entries.  It’s also a vibrant area for those commuting by by bike with several local bike projects offering used bikes, classes, and tools to get you bike fixed up.  Toss in the fact that zip cars are available and you’ve got a great area for testing something like what you have in mind.  Yes, that’s all true, but mostly I want to see the app up in running where I live :-)

  6. Phil Threadgould

    Yea, I think I was focusing on “the fastest” approach for a commuter.  Environment and weight loss is at least a new edge.  I’m not sure it would be a wildly popular app but you could find a niche.

  7. Michael Davidson

    I think this would be amazing if you could also offer up “most scenic” route. I like walking to work usually through more interesting parts of town, not just the fastest sometimes.

  8. Jessie Whitmill

    Michael, what a great idea! I don’t think we considered that option in the beginning. Thanks for your feedback!

  9. Nicki Buning Parrott

    This is phenomenal!

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This idea was funded by public endorsement on December 13, 2012.