Staten Island, we’ll see you in Bus Time: OpenPlans selected to create NYC real time bus tracking system

OpenPlans Transportation, in partnership with Cambridge Systematics, is excited to announce that we have been selected to implement MTA Bus Time (real-time bus tracking) on all of Staten Island’s local and express bus routes by 2012! Bus Time will be expanded to all of New York City shortly thereafter, eventually covering the MTA’s 6000 local and express buses, serving millions of riders each day.  Real-time bus arrival information for all local and express routes will be available via SMS, by scanning QR-codes, and via mobile & desktop web browsers. Here’s the press release.

The days of knowing exactly where your bus is are fast approaching.  Let us give you some more (real time) information:

The end user experience will consist of a live map, updated every 15-30 seconds, displaying the geographic locations of each bus along the route.  Users will be able to access the map on a desktop web browser or via a smartphone. At the bus stop, users will be able to scan QR-codes mounted at bus stops or send the bus stop ID via SMS to find how far away the next bus is. Merchants with shops along bus routes can also create a “DIY display” that shows next bus arrival location for buses along the route to patrons.

MTA Bus Time is being co-developed with the MTA and Cambridge Systematics utilizing OneBusAway, an open source bus tracking system originally developed at the University of Washington. This open source solution offers the MTA multiple vendor options down the road, the ability to implement new features developed by the community, and the freedom to switch vendors at will. From the very start, the data from Bus Time will be open for third-party developers to create apps and custom websites.

For a preview of whats to come, check out the B63 Bus Time pilot.  It’s been diligently tracking and displaying the locations of buses along the B63 in south Brooklyn since February 2011.  The MTA recieves over 1500 SMS requests daily from riders waiting at B63 bus stops. Riders have shown overwhelming interest for the system’s deployment to other routes. The MTA listened.  Expect it in early 2012.

The map is alive and it’s trying to tell you something.