New App Helps Hikers Use Public Transportation

Turn Off This App Go Outside recommends bus and train routes to trailheads.
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Turn Off This App Go Outside recommends bus and train routes to trailheads.
Seattle

A new Seattle-based app helps users get outdoors by recommending convenient bus routes to trailheads. (Photo by Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr)

A new Android app called Turn Off This App Go Outside (TOTAGO) by Seattle-based Open PlanIt wants to make it easier for urbanites to get out by exploiting a resource that hikers often ignore: public transportation.

TOTAGO coordinates bus routes that drop users off close to trailheads and recommends hiking options based on location and time constraints. App users can also access info from the app when they’re offline or out of signal range.

Although the app is only available for Android users right now, Open PlanIt is working to get into iPhone App Store as soon as possible.

The team has sponsored outdoors group events to promote the app and expand its growth, partnering with organizations like the Seattle Transit Hikers that already use public transportation for organized hikes.

The app developers say their eventually goal is to take the app global.

“Society has a long way to go in making outdoor activities accessible to everyone, which is something we certainly need to do if we’re going to inspire support for protecting our natural resources,” wrote Lauren Miheli, a volunteer coordinator for The Nature Conservancy on the organization's website. “But a tool like this one is definitely a step in the right direction.”