CityLab's Eric Jaffe recently wrote a great article titled "3 Big-Time Benefits of Real-Time Transit Data." In this article, Eric Jaffe is imploring transit agencies to open their data for the benefit of all riders. By opening up all their data, transit agencies can "decrease wait time, improve satisfaction, and (likely) increase ridership." This is a concept that TransitScreen fully supports.
Here are a few excerpts from the article:
Of the many pains a city bus can inflict—from the stop-and-go ride to the eye-to-armpit interaction—the harshest is the wait. Unsympathetic as they often seem, transit agencies don't enjoy this situation any more than riders do. A long enough wait might drive some people to drive, which not only creates more traffic for buses to wade through but reduces revenue that might go toward better service.
"While this strategy does not actually improve the reliability of service, it helps riders to adjust their behavior in the event that a vehicle is running behind schedule," said transit scholar Candace Brakewood of the City College of New York during a recent webcast for the Center for Urban Transportation Research. "It helps improve the perception of reliability."
None of the findings are terribly surprising, but that's far from a bad thing. Cash-strapped city agencies can now point to more evidence that releasing real-time data will improve the transit experience even in the absence of massive service investments. As any bus rider knows, sometimes the best outcome is the most predictable one.