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Location-Aware Tools for Improving Public Transit Usability
January-March 2010 (vol. 9 no. 1)
pp. 13-19
Brian Ferris, University of Washington, Seattle
Kari Watkins, University of Washington, Seattle
Alan Borning, University of Washington, Seattle
Real-time arrival information, immediately available on mobile devices, can significantly enhance the usability of public transit systems. The OneBusAway system provides just such information to more than 7,000 Seattle-area bus riders per day. The authors describe a new location-aware native iPhone application for OneBusAway that provides bus stop and arrival information tailored to the user's location. Results from survey and user-study evaluations demonstrate quicker access to data using the location-aware tool. In addition, data for OneBusAway users as a whole show strikingly positive changes in rider satisfaction, the number of transit trips per week, reduced wait time at bus stops, and increased walking. The positive results also hold for the location-aware version users, suggesting the possibility of even further gains.

1. B. Ferris, K. Watkins, and A. Borning, "OneBusAway: A Transit Traveler Information System," Proc. Mobicase, 2009; http://onebusaway.org/researchmobicase-2009.pdf .
2. D. Patterson et al., "Opportunity Knocks: A System to Provide Cognitive Assistance with Transportation Services," Ubicomp 2004, LNCS 3205, Springer-Verlag, pp. 433–450.
3. R. Elmore-Yalch, "King County Metro 2006 Metro Rider/Non-Rider Survey," Apr. 2007; http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/reports/2006 2006-RNRFinal.pdf.
4. B. Taylor et al., "Thinking outside the Bus: Understanding User Perceptions of Waiting and Transferring in Order to Increase Transit Use," California PATH Research Report UCB-ITS-PRR-2009-8, Univ. California, Berkeley, 2009; www.path.berkeley.edu/PATH/Publications/ PDF/PRR/2009PRR-2009-08.pdf.

Index Terms:
location-based services, mobile applications
Citation:
Brian Ferris, Kari Watkins, Alan Borning, "Location-Aware Tools for Improving Public Transit Usability," IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 13-19, Jan.-March 2010, doi:10.1109/MPRV.2009.87
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