The T just launched improved bus predictions

Last week I wrote a post about how we had selected Swiftly to be our provider for our much improved bus predictions, and that they’d be launching in 6 weeks. That was the plan… then.

Writing that piece led to a bit of reflection for our team. We are massively proud of the decreased time waiting at stops and greater certainty for our customers that Swiftly will provide. And because of the new GPS trackers by Samsara that we’re installing on our vehicles (more than 1̶5̶1̶ 350 installed in the last 2 weeks), those predictions, and the feed of real-time locations for our buses, will be even better in another month. We always thought it made sense to launch them together.

But we also knew Swiftly’s system alone would improve our predictions from 75% accurate to 84% accurate, just by using what they calibrated for the procurement. That’s not theory or promises. It is based on actual results against our current data, using the buses running on the street today. Why were we waiting to give our customers the benefits?

Why indeed? So our team worked with Swiftly to figure out how we could launch what we know is better, using the same data source that the procurement ran against, while continuing to develop the even better predictions that will come in the next month. As of 10:20 AM today, we have launched Swiftly’s predictions.

These new, better predictions are available today in our API, on our website, on our endorsed app Transit, and on any app that uses our v3 API or our GTFS-realtime feed.

Are they as good as the predictions that we’ll roll out over the next month? No — those predictions will include all the new Samsara data and will benefit from the continuous refinement that is Swiftly’s hallmark.

Are they better than what we have today? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. So why would we wait? Your predictions will be better today than they were last week, and they will be better next month than they are today. We’re pretty excited.


Want to join the team that’s making all this happen? We’re looking for product managers and developers to help roll out improvements to our real-time data, API, digital signage, payment systems, and so much more. Come join us.

MBTA Customer Technology

We're a small group ready to make big tech changes at the…

Thanks to Steph Lewis-Degan

David Block-Schachter

Written by

Was CTO @MBTA; CTO @Bridj; PhD @MIT; MIC @KEYMOUSE

MBTA Customer Technology

We're a small group ready to make big tech changes at the MBTA. Follow us to read about our plan, view updates, and get an early experience of a more user-friendly MBTA website.

David Block-Schachter

Written by

Was CTO @MBTA; CTO @Bridj; PhD @MIT; MIC @KEYMOUSE

MBTA Customer Technology

We're a small group ready to make big tech changes at the MBTA. Follow us to read about our plan, view updates, and get an early experience of a more user-friendly MBTA website.

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