Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Trusty Buses

Anyone who’s ever commuted by bus is familiar with this annoying phenomenon: a bus is late getting to a particular stop, and by the time it finally arrives, the next scheduled bus is right behind it. Now, thanks to a new fleet of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) buses equipped with Global Positioning System devices, MIT civil and environmental engineers are studying why buses go off schedule.

Professor Nigel Wilson and his colleagues are analyzing data from the Silver Line, which runs between Downtown Crossing in Boston and Dudley Station in Roxbury, MA. They’ll be looking for causes ranging from operators’ driving speeds to increased traffic when schools let out. Once they know the most common causes for delays on a route, they will make specific recommendations to the MBTA, such as retraining slow drivers or adjusting schedules or routes. Wilson, who is doing a similar study on public buses in Chicago, hopes to have suggestions in to the MBTA within a year. Meanwhile, graduate student Mike Hanowsky has created a program that will use the data to create more-realistic schedules.

“If we can improve the reliability of bus service, a lot of people will think of using public transportation that haven’t used it in the past,” says Wilson.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Communications

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me