Valley Metro collaborates with ASU to begin development of light rail app with $1 million grant

The app will include new features for both ASU students and everyday commuters

Helped by a $1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, Valley Metro will work with ASU staff to design a new app to facilitate transit across the Valley as part of the Mobility on Demand project.

Valley Metro will be partnering with ASU, RouteMatch Software, the city of Phoenix Public Transit Department and Lyft for the project. The new app will greatly expand on the current one, Ridekick, and will allow light rail passengers to schedule bike reservations or Lyft rides so that trips can be completed in concert with the light rail. 

“It will be an inclusive application so all riders will receive a greater selection of transportation options, and it provides a technology springboard to arrange multiple and more spontaneous travel modes using a single platform,” Pepper Harward, the vice president of transit solutions for RouteMatch Software, the company doing most of the software development for the app, said. “We’re thrilled to be working with such visionary teams at Valley Metro and their stakeholders to bring this innovation to transit riders and travelers in greater Phoenix."

The new app will streamline the trip-planning process. 

“Working alongside our mobility platform partners, we’ll be adding capabilities that will allow for real-time information, fare purchases and more effective trip planning tools,” Scott Smith, the interim CEO of Valley Metro, said. 

ASU comes in on the development side of the endeavor. 

“Arizona State University is testing the app and also incorporating the feature that will enable some safety and security reporting,” Communications Manager at Valley Metro, Susan Tierney said.

The app will include features that serve as safety precautions and allow users to report incidents, Tierney said. This feature is one that will be especially useful to ASU students commuting on the light rail. 

It will also make payment more convenient. 

“There will be a wifi beacon placed that will enable ASU students to have their fares automatically validated between the Downtown and Tempe campuses,” Tierney said.

Development began when the grant was received in mid-October. It should be finished within a year. 

“It’s an honor and exciting to compete against systems across the county to receive such a large grant,” Scott Smith said. “These funds will serve as seed money to improve and build upon our Ridekick mobile app. We are also excited that our success can eventually be shared with other transit agencies across the U.S.”


Reach the reporter at jpleona1@asu.edu or follow @jpleonard123 on Twitter.

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