Rail

MBTA improves real-time information for subway service

Posted on April 23, 2018

In the coming months, RTR will enable further improvements for MBTA riders, including better arrival predictions at and near terminal stations.
MBTA
In the coming months, RTR will enable further improvements for MBTA riders, including better arrival predictions at and near terminal stations.
MBTA

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has improved subway arrival predication times on MBTA.com and select smartphone applications.

Following last month's announcement of improved prediction times and train locations for Commuter Rail, this latest improvement to the MBTA's real-time information, Rapid Transit Realtime (RTR), launched for the Red, Orange, and Blue Lines. Data-quality upgrades for the Green Line and Mattapan Trolley launched in February 2018 and June 2017, respectively.

"While our strategy to make capital investments in core infrastructure continues, we must remember that technology is a major part of our infrastructure that needs to be upgraded as well," said MBTA GM Luis Manuel Ramírez. "As we strive to improve our customers’ experience, we’re happy to extend improved train prediction times on the Orange, Red, and Blue lines."

Customers viewing real-time information about their subway trips on MBTA.com and smartphone apps like Transit that have upgraded to the new feed will see more accurate arrival predictions that are also updated more frequently. The system uses more sophisticated data to generate better predictions, and train arrival times are now refreshed every six seconds. Previously, times were between 15 and 45 seconds old.

This lower-latency data is currently available on the website and through the MBTA's v3 API. Over the course of the year, feeds for applications served by the v2 API, in-station signage, and delay messages will be updated.

In the coming months, RTR will enable further improvements for MBTA riders, including better arrival predictions at and near terminal stations. It incorporates more information about how long a train is expected to wait before leaving the terminal, resulting in more accurate predictions for each station down the line. The new system will also improve the accuracy of predictions during delays and when shuttle buses are in service on all or part of a line.

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