In his March 13, 2011, NYT article, Richard H. Thaler documents how the government’s release of open data has made citizens’ lives better. He notes that Routesy, a smartphone app that uses data provided by San Francisco’s transit systems has provided real-time information that helps riders find the right bus stop and when the bus will arrive at their stop. Thaler also explores how the Obama administration has encouraged the release of government data to allow private citizens and companies to create applications that make our lives easier.
However, not everyone is in favor of releasing the data to the public. Thaler documents the airline industry’s fight against the release of their fees and fare data to the general public and the continuing drama in the House of Representatives regarding the online product safety database, saferproducts.gov.
For more information on the benefits of the government releasing data to the public, please see Thaler’s NYT article, “This Data Isn’t Dull. It Improves Lives.”