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Algorithms can lead to more efficient public transit. Here’s how you may already be helping.
Riders of Boston’s public transportation system use the Transit app to plan trips, get real-time information on service, and set alerts for departure times. These interactions provide data about how riders use the app and navigate the transit system, known as the MBTA.
But little has been done with this treasure trove of information in the two years since the MBTA formed a partnership with Transit in 2016—until now.
Daniel T. O’Brien, an associate professor at Northeastern, is leading a team of researchers that will spend the next two years poring over the data, organizing it into a much more accessible database, and leading studies intended to help the MBTA better understand its ridership.
“Every interaction a user has with the app gives us a snapshot in time of how someone is choosing to navigate that public transit system,” O’Brien said.