Case Studies and Research

Did you know?
OneBusAway began as a research project at the University of Washington. Beyond serving riders and improving access to transit, the project also helps aid research on the effects of real-time information on ridership and rider perceptions.

Benefits of Real-Time

  • In New York City, real-time information led to an increase in weekday ridership of 1.7%, with the biggest increase on routes with the greatest level of transit service.
  • In Seattle, 92% of riders reported increased or greatly increased satisfaction with public transportation.
  • Riders self-report an increased number of transit trips per week, particularly in the off-peak when transit is below capacity.
  • Riders self-report increased feelings of safety (e.g., while waiting at night).
  • Riders self-report an increase in walking, which has a public health benefit.
  • For riders without real-time information, perceived wait time is greater than measured wait time. But, having real-time information brings perceived wait time in line with actual wait time.
  • Mobile real-time information users have been observed to actually wait almost 2 minutes less per trip than those arriving using traditional schedule information.

OneBusAway Case Studies

New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

About: MTA is the largest transit agency in the U.S. and expanded Bus Time, a branded version of OneBusAway, to cover the entirety of New York City in 2014. At peak, Bus Time handles 30,000 requests/minute.
Integrations: Web application, APIs powering custom mobile apps, public data, and many 3rd-party apps.
Setup: Cambridge Systematics hosts and maintains OneBusAway for MTA, as well as performing custom development.
Favorite feature: There is a community aspect to it. It’s open source, and there is a slack channel where you can talk to other people if you’re trying to do something or get ideas. There’s a mission, goal, and desire to provide equitable options.


About: GoEuropa created KiedyBus, powered by OneBusAway, in 2016 to serve the entire Poznań region of Poland.
Integrations: Customized web application, iOS and Android apps
Setup: TransitClock creates GTFS-RT feeds from GPS data, which are ingested into the OneBusAway servers. These are hosted and maintained by GoEuropa on behalf of agencies.
Favorite feature: Usage of open data and experience in terms of handling the code/deployment allows us to quickly set up a running instance and show potential new clients that this tool is not worse than closed-source alternatives.

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)

About: MTS launched OneBusAway in 2016, using it for both bus and Trolley (light rail) systems.
Integrations: iOS and Android apps, SMS arrivals, API-powered real-time information on the SDMTS website, arrival information signage at transit stations, and Trolley signage.
Setup: MTS self-hosts OneBusAway on a single Windows server, which has so far been sufficient to manage over 300k requests/day at peak.
Favorite feature: “[OneBusAway] cares about accessibility. It’s really important in the transit industry to have accessible information, and they have always put that front and center.”