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Rail News: Internet/Digital

MBTA aims to boost real-time train arrival data

With two new programs deployed, commuter train locations and predicted arrival times are now current within 10 to 40 seconds.
Photo – MBTA


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has launched two new programs designed to improve commuter-rail train arrival information on its website and mobile apps.

Known as TrainLoc and Concentrate, the programs simplify and accelerate the processing capacity of real-time data. With TrainLoc, commuter-rail train locations and predicted arrival times are now current within 10 to 40 seconds, MBTA officials said in a press release.

Under an older program dating to 2011, train locations could be as old as two minutes.

Meanwhile, Concentrate enables higher-capacity, more frequent sharing of all MBTA real-time transit data with third-party organizations and consumers. The program aggregates all real-time information across the system and consolidates it into two single-source outputs, which reduces data latency by about 10 seconds, MBTA officials said.

"As this winter has shown us, seconds matter when planning ahead, so I'm happy we can improve the accuracy of our train locations and arrivals," said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramirez.

TrainLoc and Concentrate were created using updated application programming interfaces from the MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services, the agency's commuter-rail operator.

With these new programs deployed, the MBTA also expects to save nearly $10,000 a month in maintenance costs while providing more current real-time information to riders.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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