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MBTA-Realtime

IBI Group led the design, development and implementation of the MBTA-realtime system to manage service alerts, vehicle locations and arrival predictions for all its modes, including bus, subway, light rail and commuter rail. 


Client
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Location
Boston, MA
Ongoing Status

This custom-built system is one of the first of its kind to fully integrate with General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) formatted schedule information, automatically tagging all real-time data with GTFS identifiers. The system provides all real-time alerts, locations, and predictions in uniform formats across transit modes via GTFS-realtime feeds and a web services API.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)-realtime automatically generates appropriate messages for all dissemination channels including MBTA’s website, Google Maps, third party apps, RSS feed, email/SMS, and Twitter — all tagged with identifiers that allow riders to receive targeted alert messages for the specific services they’re interested in. 

As part of this project, we also developed a web-based MBTA-alerts system. The intuitive platform allows simple alerts to be created in seconds with fine-grained control over what service(s) an alert applies to (down to the trip and stop level), and when it’s in effect. Over 50 MBTA operators create and manage service alerts, many of whom work concurrently. An average of 80-100,000 alert messages are sent every day to over 50,000 active subscribers via email/SMS. 

IBI Group also developed the MBTA Developer Portal (realtime.mbta.com) that is used by third-party application developers to register for accounts and API-keys and access the API.

Optimizing the network 

IBI Group is also helping MBTA create a new real-time performance measurement and analytics system named MBTA-performance. It records vehicle arrival and departure times; calculates headways, travel times, wait times, and schedule adherence; and derives performance metrics for on-time performance, passenger-weighted wait times, and passenger-weighted travel times in real-time. It also generates comprehensive performance measures for any specified time period, as well as any route, direction, stop or combination thereof.

The system is currently live for MBTA’s subway and light rail services, is being tested for commuter rail services, and is being expanded to cover MBTA’s bus services. MBTA and IBI Group intend to release the system as an open source project. 

Carl-Henry Piel

Director | US Services Lead, Intelligence
Boston, MA

Boston, MA

Carl-Henry Piel is a registered Professional Engineer with over 30 years of experience in systems engineering and over 25 years specifically in Intelligent Transportation Systems. His ITS work has focused on systems integration and computer, communications, and sensing technologies. Carl-Henry leads IBI Group’s Intelligent Systems Sector Consulting Services practice and is recognized for his expertise in transportation technologies and systems. He has a broad systems engineering background, encompassing telecommunications and power distribution systems design with additional experience in the design and applications of control systems, real-time data acquisition and signal processing systems, and artificial neural networks.

Ritesh Warade

Director | US Operations Lead, Intelligence
Boston, MA

Boston, MA

Ritesh Warade holds a master’s degrees in Transportation Engineering, City Planning, and Urban Design, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He has over ten years of experience, specializing in the planning, design, and implementation of passenger information and analytics systems for transit. His recent projects include Boston MBTA’s MBTA-realtime and MBTA-performance systems, Denver RTD’s traveller information System, and Toronto Metrolinx’s Triplink. Ritesh has a background in transit planning, and Intelligent Transportation Systems. Ritesh leads IBI Group’s Transit Data practice, which focuses on helping transit agencies manage their data, provide high-quality realtime information to passengers, and analyze service quality and measure performance. He is an industry leader in the field of open data and open data standards for transit, and is a member of an industry consortium working to manage and improve the GTFS/ GTFS-realtime data formats.