LAWRENCE — The trusty bicycle has been the KU students’ essential mode of transportation since two-wheelers became common in Lawrence back in the 1890s. But as the campus has sprawled, finding a bike rack on the fly may not be as easy as one might think, especially if one is late for class.
Last fall avid cyclist James Decker III, who was then a Masters of Urban Planning candidate, created the Rackit App to solve that problem.
Available free of charge for Android platform smartphones, it uses Google maps and satellite imagery to help bicyclists find bike racks. By selecting specific buildings on the KU campus they can quickly find tie-up points.
“I primarily created RackIt to help foster bicycle culture on campus and to solve an issue I regularly encountered,” he said.
“It is a relatively simple app; however, I believe it should serve as a testament to how urban planners can utilize emerging technology like mobile phones to educate and help solve problems,” he said.
Decker joined the Kansas Department of Transportation after graduating in December, where he manages the metropolitan planning organizations in Topeka, Manhattan, and Wichita.
“I plan on keep on solving planning problems through technology,” Decker said. “Mobile apps will be a huge part of this. If transit, bicycle route or other apps would benefit these communities, I hope we can work together to develop them."
“The public sector can be slow to adopt new technology,” he said. “My background from KU will be huge asset as I learn to solve everyday problems through technology.”