New York MTA Selects Cambridge Systematics, OpenPlans for Bus Customer Information System

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Open source software to provide real-time bus location information to 2.5M riders

This is a model project for the transit industry, demonstrating how open source, open data, and open standards deliver results,” said Eric Ziering, Executive Vice President at Cambridge Systematics.

Cambridge Systematics, Inc. and subcontractor OpenPlans Transportation have been selected by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to develop the software for MTA Bus Time™, a real-time bus customer information system for New York City.

MTA Bus Time will enable bus riders to use smartphones, text messaging, or their web browser to learn how far the next bus is from their stop, saving them time and making bus travel easier. Users also can scan Quick Response (QR) codes on bus stop signs to learn instantly when the next bus will arrive.

“As we’ve seen with the phenomenal popularity of countdown clocks in the subway system, providing arrival information to customers makes all the difference in creating an enjoyable commute,” said Darryl Irick, MTA New York City Transit’s Senior Vice President for Buses. “MTA Bus Time will remove the uncertainty of waiting for a bus, letting our riders take a few extra minutes at home with family instead of waiting at a bus stop. The MTA is committed to bringing this important benefit to all of our bus customers.”

MTA Bus Time will launch in Staten Island next January, covering all local and express bus routes, and expand to the rest of New York City by mid-2013, covering 6,000 buses and serving 2.5 million riders. The MTA Bus Time platform will allow third-party developers to build their own apps using real-time bus data, so travelers may soon be able to choose from dozens of different smartphone apps, tailored for different kinds of riders.

“This is a model project for the transit industry, demonstrating how open source, open data, and open standards deliver results,” said Eric Ziering, Executive Vice President at Cambridge Systematics. “Cambridge Systematics intends to support public transit agencies across the U.S. and around the world as they adopt this platform for their own use.”

MTA Bus Time is a second collaboration between Cambridge Systematics and New York-based OpenPlans Transportation, who have teamed to deploy an open source transit data warehouse in the Atlanta region. MTA Bus Time expands on a successful pilot effort by the MTA and OpenPlans for a single bus route (the B63) in Brooklyn.

MTA Bus Time is based on the OneBusAway open source software project, created at the University of Washington. Because MTA Bus Time is open source and available free of charge, it provides other transit properties with an economical upgrade path for older Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) systems that have become too expensive to maintain.

About Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Cambridge Systematics is a leading provider of transportation software solutions, known worldwide for its work in transportation policy, planning, and analysis.

About the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The MTA operates and maintains the busiest public transportation network in the Western Hemisphere: The New York City Subway, New York City Buses, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and Staten Island Railway. Together these agencies serve 8.5 million passengers per day across 5,000 square miles. The MTA also operates and maintains nine bridges and tunnels serving 800,000 vehicles per day.

About OpenPlans Transportation
OpenPlans Transportation is a non-profit focused on providing strategic technology solutions for the transportation sector, building community and partnership around software platforms.

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