Tourism Tech: Audio Tour App Takes You on a Tram Ride

Being a tourist can be expensive, inconvenient and embarrassing. Lumped into unwieldy masses and guided like cattle through a city, you’re at the mercy of the schedules of others and sometimes can’t hear what the guide is saying, anyway. If  the idea of making your own way on your own time sounds appealing, there’s an app for you: Tram Sightseeing, a guided tour that uses your smartphone and GPS to show you around.

The catch? It’s currently only available for Gothenburg, Sweden. But the way the app works could be translated to practically any city. Created by design agency Forsman & Bodenfors for Gothenburg public transportation agency Vässtrafik, the Tram Sightseeing app directs you to the nearest tram stop using GPS navigation. It’ll select a suitable route and departure time, and even help you buy tickets.

Once you get on the tram, your sightseeing tour begins. Your virtual guide tells you about all of the sights outside your tram window, which will also be pictured on your phone. The guide also gives you instructions about when and how to change trams.

“Tourists in Gothenburg pay good money for sightseeing tours,” say the app creators. “Unnecessarily, we thought. So we created the app Tram Sightseeing. For the price of a tram ticket, Tram Sightseeing gives you a guided tour. You simply put your headphones on and listen to the app telling you about the sights as they pass outside the tram window. The sights are geotagged and thanks to the GPS in your phone, the app knows exactly where you are.”