Computer science student develops RTA tracking app


Isabel-Torres Paladin

The new RTA app is featured on the transit website and is available on google play. It alerts passengers to train delays and tracks train arrivals.

With an unassuming sweetness, second-year computer science major and cross country runner Jacob Goldberg is not out for recognition when it comes to the impressive app he engineered over the past year. The app, Cleveland Transit, is a thorough RTA mapping app that shows users where the closest RTA stops are and when they arrive, as well as giving real time service alerts for every bus and rail.

Goldberg worked on the app over the course of the last year, beginning as soon as he decided to move to Cleveland for college.

“A rail was kind of a factor in my college decision,” Goldberg said.

Equipped with a passion for public transportation and a knack for programming, he began teaching himself to code in high school. Goldberg has the short term goal of expanding the scope of his app to include point to point navigation and the long term goal of working as an engineer for a major city’s rapid transit system.

Goldberg exudes passion for public transportation and sees the value of connecting cities through transportation. His appreciation for public transportation began after a trip to Washington, D.C. as a child, where he was exposed to the Metro rail system and fell in love with the interconnectedness of the city. After that transformative trip, he has traveled the country in order to experience various transit systems and his vacations are centered on cities with strong rail systems.

This summer, Goldberg accomplished the feat of riding the New York City subway and going to every single stop it travels to, a total of 472 stations. The 29 straight hours on the subway fortunately only cost $3.

Goldberg also visited his personal favorite transit city, Los Angeles.

“LA’s system is designed for the future, not the past or present,” said Goldberg on their revolutionary system.

Despite his study on various transit systems, the Cleveland Transit app is the first mobile app he has made, and he plans to keep improving it instead of working on a new project while he is in school.

The app is made for Android products, and Goldberg used Google for the mapping capabilities. He used the RTA server for real time updates and drew many of the graphics in the app himself. He saw a need for the app after realizing that the RTA route website is somewhat archaic and not mobile friendly, and he wanted to create a user-friendly way for riders to efficiently navigate the city of Cleveland via the RTA system.

Using the app, riders can see where to get on, for either bus or rail, and when they can do so. Goldberg has ridden to all 50 RTA rail stops with photos of each on his Flickr page, so the information on the app is not only accurate on a map, it has been fully tested by Goldberg himself, who says the best part about the RTA is that the trains are rarely late.

“I began by pulling up tutorials on how to make an app for Android,” Goldberg said when asked how the process began.

Not only is his app on the Google Play Store, it is now featured on the RTA website and is gaining traction.

“For size, comfort, and speed I prefer trains,” Goldberg says, but admitted that his hometown of Durham, North Carolina, has a less than stellar rail system.

He shared that he uses the rail as a way to escape the stress of school and that he has seen more of Cleveland in a single year than most Case Western Reserve University students will probably ever see by graduation, thanks to the RTA.