Measuring Transit Agency Performance Using Open Realtime Data

Two recent trends in the Transit industry are (1) providing real-time information to the public, and (2) using abundant automatically collected data to measure and improve performance. This paper describes work at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) that combines these two efforts to create an open-source public-facing platform for real-time and historical customer-weighted performance data based on the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) and GTFS-realtime data standard. The paper describes the data and methodology underlying the customer-weighted performance metrics, the process for calculating them in real-time using GTFS-realtime data feeds then storing the data in a performance database, and the incorporation of this performance data into the MBTA’s existing public open data portal. It also compares the results of measuring performance using GTFS-realtime data to the MBTA’s previous block-based performance system that was based on the direct track telemetry data and finds that overall the outputs from the two systems are closely correlated. This work produces open-source software that operates on open data in a common standard, the metrics described in this paper should be reproducible for any transit agency with data in the GTFS-realtime format, which has potential both as an internal tool for individual agencies and as an objective means of comparing the performance of different agencies’ services.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AP010 Standing Committee on Transit Management and Performance.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Tribone, Dominick
    • Riegel, Laura
    • Warade, Ritesh
    • Barker, David
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01590901
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-5080
  • Files: PRP, TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 24 2016 5:07PM