Quote of the Day

So one view of the Springsteen approach is that it is economically irrational. But another is that it is part of a long-term relationship between a performer and his fans.

Neil Irwin, New York Times

How Accurate, Accessible Arrival Info Can Affect Ridership

March 17, 2015

The US continued its trend of increasing transit ridership last year, despite the dramatic drop in gas prices. While numbers varied widely across cities, the total number of transit trips in the country increased by 1% relative to 2013. Some of the increases in ridership were attributed to growths in transit service, while others were a result of economic growth. Interestingly enough, most of the national growth in heavy rail transit ridership can actually be ascribed to one city: New York. New York City makes up about one-fourth of all transit ridership in the US, so any changes there will have a significant effect on the overall numbers.

As mass transit continues to grow, one of the most useful tools to riders will undoubtedly be accurate, real-time information about their buses or trains. In fact, a study of New York’s Bus Time program, which provides real time bus tracking, found that ridership grew by about 2% on busy routes in the boroughs where the program was launched in 2011. A study done in Chicago found similar results, with ridership increasing about 2% for buses where a real-time information system was implemented. These are promising results for real-time tracking programs, but unfortunately, many of such systems in the US are often inaccurate, or broken.

On Monday, Google and Trimet rolled out a wireless train arrival beacon in Portland for the MAX light rail. The beacon connects to bluetooth-enabled Android phones and sends automatic notifications to riders at the MAX station. Whether the beacon will be a success will have to be seen: the service is not available for ios, and currently only works with Android 5.0 or newer. Riders can also access their train info online, so it’s uncertain if having an extra notification when they are already at the station will be worthwhile. Nonetheless, as public transit grows in the US, it’ll be important to expand and improve our current systems of tracking arrivals.


Listen to the Talking Headways Podcast

Testimonials

…the first thing I read every morning is the newsletter to see what’s been out there. It’s great to have an aggregator that pulls everything together so nicely.

Joe Cortright, City Observatory


I think that the email newsletter that you do every morning is the best one that I get, and I get a lot of them.

Mary Newsom, The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute


Really is the best daily urban newsletter out there.

Eric Jaffe, Editorial Director Sidewalk Labs

Subscribe

To Receive The Overhead Wire in Your Inbox Daily

Premium Daily Subscription

The Premium Daily Subscription is our most information packed offering, chock full of over 30 pieces of news every single day. Included are popular features such as the quote of the day and the most read article from the previous day. Also included is our weekly roundup for times when you are strapped for time but need to know what’s going on.

Premium Weekly Subscription

The Premium Weekly Subscription is for professionals constantly under a time crunch. We take the most read items from the week before and share them with subscribers along with more in depth analysis of a single popular topic.

Learn More and Subscribe

Top Links

of the past 48 hours

Video of the Day

Friends of The Overhead Wire

Back To Top

Welcome to The Overhead Wire

What Can We Help You Find?

Try Our Newsletter For Free