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Learn from the Experts: Open Data Policy Guidelines for Transit – Maximizing Real Time and Schedule Data Use and Investments
(December 5, 2013)

MBTA-realtime: Integrating Predictions and Alerts into One GTFS-based Platform

Presenter:   Dave Barker
Presenter's Org:   Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA)

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Slide 1:  MBTA-realtime: Integrating predictions and alerts into one GTFS-based platform

T3 Open Data Webinar, December 2013
Dave Barker, dbarker@mbta.com
Manager of Operations Technology, MBTA

[This slide contains the logo of the MBTA, which is a black letter “T” on a white circle.]

Slide 2:  Motivation

Slide 3:  (No title)

The MBTA:

[This slide contains a map of the MBTA's service area, emanating out from the city of Boston.]

Slide 4:  2009-2012: Rapid development led to numerous feeds

[This slide contains a chart of applications for various modes of transportation and their different programming languages.]

Slide 5:  50+ Applications

[The background of this slide consists of sixteen screenshots from various MBTA smartphone applications.]

Slide 6:  Vision

Slide 7:  The MBTA-realtime vision

Bus locations →
Limited GTFS →
NextBus API (NextBus)
GTFS →
Com.rail predictions →
Subway predictions →
Elevator status →
Alerts thru GUI
New MBTA-realtime software → GTFS
→ GTFS-realtime
→ API (XML, JSON)
RSS (alerts only)

Slide 8:  Phase I, June 2013

Bus locations →
Limited GTFS →
NextBus → API (NextBus)
GTFS →
Com.rail predictions
Subway predictions
Elevator status →
Alerts thru GUI →
New MBTA-realtime software → GTFS (schedule only)
→ GTFS-realtime
→ API (XML, JSON)
→ RSS (alerts only)

Slide 9:  Execution

Slide 10:  Technical details

[This slide's background consists of a close-up image of circuit board layout.]

Slide 11:  Alert GUI

[This slide contains a screenshot of the MBTA's Alert GUI user interface. “Commuter Rail” is selected in the top menu. “Delay” has been selected in the Commuter Rail submenu. The main content area is comprised of three sections, which each have multiple choices to allow the user to customize the information. These sections are: “Affected Services,” “Time Range,” and “Descriptions.” The screenshot is overwritten with notes in red text in two places: (1) “Today's trains (per GTFS)” is in the Affected Services section and (2) “Alert will lcear after selected train scheduled to reach destination” is in the Time Range section.]

Slide 12:  (No title)

[This slide contains another screenshot of the MBTA's Alert GUI user interface. This one is customized for subway line selections. The screenshot is overwritten with a note in red text in the “Time Range” section: “Recurring alerts.”]

Slide 13:  Developer output & outreach

[This slide contains a screenshot of the MBTA's Developer Portal website and a screenshot of the code for a specific HTTP request, the XML response, and the JSON response.]

Slide 14:  Results

Slide 15:  MBTA to Customers (SMS, email, website)

This slide contains a screenshot of a “T-Alert” on a smartphone on the left and a screenshot of the MBTA's Subway Service Alerts webpage on the right.

Slide 16:  Developers to customers (web, apps, notification)

[This slide contains traveler alert screenshots from three applications. A Google directions website screenshot displays a route detour in detail. A Transit BOS smartphone screenshot displays a train delay, the affected direction, and the affected stops. A Roadify smartphone screenshot displays a list of commuter train routes; one of them is flagged with a red alert icon.]

Slide 17:  Developers to customers (web, apps, notification)

[This slide contains commuter transit information from two smartphone applications. An Embark screenshot displays the user options on a Push Advisories screen. A ProximiT screenshot displays the ETA of the next approaching train at a particular station and informs the user that service is operating normally.]

Slide 18:  Response

Slide 19:  Customers

#1 Complaint: I want fewer alerts!

#2 Complaint: I want more alerts!

Slide 20:  Customers

Slide 21:  Internal users

Slide 22:  Developers

Slide 23:  Developers' Plans using MBTA Data (November 2013 Survey)

[This slide contains the Developers' Plans using MBTA Data survey results in vertical bar chart. Ten MBTA datasets are listed along the horizontal axis. Bars rising the datasets are divided into sections that show the number of responses received for these categories: Using in released app, Using in app in development, Might use, and Won't use.]

Slide 24:  Lessons

Slide 25:  Lessons

Slide 26:  Next steps

Slide 27:  Thank you

Visit realtime.mbta.com for more.

Acronym Reference

Dave Barker, Manager of Operations Technology, dbarker@mbta.com

[This slide contains the logo of the MBTA, which is a black letter “T” on a white circle.]


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