Moving America on Transit

Transit agencies have begun to provide real-time information (RTI) to riders via mobile and web-enabled devices as a method to address reliability issues.  However, it is typically cost-prohibitive for transit agencies to fund custom development of native mobile apps for all popular smartphone platforms.  As a result, few cities have full app portfolios that cover all smartphone platforms.

This National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) research project focused on the implementation of the OneBusAway multi-region architecture that enables the rapid expansion of native mobile transit apps on Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 to new cities.  Tampa, FL was chosen as an initial pilot deployment site for OneBusAway multi-region in early 2013, with a successful public launch in August 2013.  Since this time, OneBusAway has spread to Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C., York, Canada, and UC Berkeley, CA.  View a webinar about OneBusAway multi-region project, including how to make OneBusAway available in your city, here.  This work was also published in the Journal of Public Transportation.

As part of the OneBusAway Tampa pilot, an experiment was conducted – 200 users were given access to OneBusAway, while another 200 were monitored as a control group without access to OneBusAway.  The results show that the primary benefits associated with providing RTI to passengers pertain to waiting at the bus stop.  Analysis of “usual” wait times revealed a significantly larger decrease (nearly 2 minutes) for RTI users compared to the control group.  Additionally, RTI users had significant decreases in levels of anxiety and frustration when waiting for the bus compared to the control group.  Similarly, they had significant increases in levels of satisfaction with the time they spend waiting for the bus and how often the bus arrives at the stop on time.  Taken together, these findings provide strong evidence that RTI significantly improves the passenger experience of waiting for the bus, which is notoriously one of the most disliked elements of transit trips.  View a recorded webinar about this experiment here.  This study was also published in Transportation Research Part A.

This project was done in partnership with Georgia Tech’s National Center for Transportation Productivity and Management and Dr. Candace Brakewood and Dr. Kari Watkins.

New OneBusAway Region Checklist:

If you want to set up OneBusAway in your city, here’s what you’ll need:

Contact Sean J. Barbeau at barbeau (at) with questions!

Recorded Webcasts:

Journal Papers:

Conference Presentations:

Related Presentations: