Transit agencies have begun to provide real-time information (RTI) to riders via mobile and web-enabled devices as a method to address reliability issues. However, it is typically cost-prohibitive for transit agencies to fund custom development of native mobile apps for all popular smartphone platforms. As a result, few cities have full app portfolios that cover all smartphone platforms.
This report presents the results of the OneBusAway multi-region project, a collaborative effort that enables the rapid expansion of native mobile transit apps on Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 to new cities. Tampa, FL was chosen as an initial pilot deployment site for OneBusAway multi-region in early 2013, with a successful public launch following the pilot. As part of the OneBusAway Tampa pilot, an experiment was conducted – 200 users were given access to OneBusAway, while another 200 were monitored as a control group without access to OneBusAway. The results show that the primary benefits associated with providing RTI to passengers pertain to waiting at the bus stop.
Analysis of “usual” wait times revealed a significantly larger decrease (nearly 2 minutes) for RTI users compared to the control group. Additionally, RTI users had significant decreases in levels of anxiety and frustration when waiting for the bus compared to the control group. Similarly, they had significant increases in levels of satisfaction with the time they spend waiting for the bus and how often the bus arrives at the stop on time. Taken together, these findings provide strong evidence that RTI significantly improves the passenger experience of waiting for the bus, which is notoriously one of the most disliked elements of transit trips.