New MBTA Bus Arrival Prediction System Coming

mbta bus

A screen displaying MBTA bus arrival predictions. (MBTA)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- The MBTA is out with a new highly-accurate, real-time way to let passengers know when buses will be arriving.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker spoke to MBTA Chief Technology Officer David Block-Schachter about the system. He called bus predictions, introduced eight years ago, a "lifeline"--but said that, sometimes, the predictions don't work out as well. Now, they're working with San Francisco-based company Swiftly to improve the predictions.

"This means that it will be more accurate, so you can spend less time waiting at a bus stop, and more time at home or at your office doing a little bit of work at the end of the day," Block-Schachter said.

He said the MBTA knows where their buses are every 60 seconds currently, and with new trackers, will know their position every 2 seconds. Swiftly combines that info with historical data to make predictions that are "85 percent accurate"--and the T says that number will climb.

"The best thing about it is, [riders] need to do absolutely nothing," he said. "If you've got Transit App, or any of the other apps that are out there, you can just rest assured that your predictions will be better tomorrow than they were yesterday, and they'll be better the day after than they were tomorrow."

Block-Schachter said officials will also be able to check conditions of buses, and get those that aren't running out of service and replaced sooner.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker (@radiobenparker) reports

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