Tahoe Transportation District Gets Real-time Arrival Information Powered by Swiftly

Today, Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) riders will get a big upgrade to their travels. Swiftly, Inc. has partnered with TTD to bring real-time transit predictions to the South Shore region of Lake Tahoe.

As part of this project, GPS trackers have been installed on buses to generate real-time arrival information. This data has now been made accessible to the public in the form of Swiftly’s prediction algorithm, Transitime. With this technology, riders can now access up-to-the-moment bus arrival predictions for routes 50, 53, 23, 19x, 20x, 21x, and seasonal services right from their phone, via Swiftly’s mobile app and website platform.

“We are happy to be able to provide our riders with real-time arrival information,” said George Fink, Transit System Program Manager for the TTD. “Especially for those who rely on transit to get around the region, this is a big step forward. We’re confident this program will make our transit system easier to use and more accessible to residents and visitors alike.”

Swiftly’s CEO, Jonny Simkin, added, “This partnership will vastly improve the experience for anyone who uses TTD’s transit system. This accurate real-time information will only strengthen the system’s overall predictability and usage.”

Mobile App

Swiftly’s free mobile app offers many features to help individuals get around the south shore and Carson Valley region. In addition to accurate real-time transit information, Swiftly users can access multi-modal trip planning, live maps with vehicle locations, and can report transit-related issues for other riders to see. The Swiftly mobile app can be downloaded for iOS and Android at goswift.ly/download.

Learn more about Swiftly at goswift.ly

About Tahoe Transportation District

Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) is responsible for facilitating and implementing safe, environmentally positive, multi-modal transportation plans, programs and projects for the Lake Tahoe Basin, including transit operations. TTD provides fixed-route and demand response service the South Lake Tahoe, CA and Stateline, NV area. Commuter services are operated from Stateline to Carson City and Minden/Gardnerville, as well as a route connecting Gardnerville to Carson City. In addition to administering transit, TTD facilitates, implements, and delivers transportation projects in the Tahoe Basin. TTD provides operational authority for transit services within its boundaries. Learn more about TTD on their website: http://www.tahoetransportation.org/

 

Swiftly's Transitime Brings Better Data to Cities

Swiftly, Inc. welcomes Michael Smith to its executive team as it looks to bring Transitime – a next-generation real-time passenger information system – to cities around the world.

Michael Smith is the former General Manager and Chief Technology Officer of NextBus, the current market leader in real-time passenger information systems for transit agencies. He originally built Transitime from the ground up to enable transit agencies to provide more accurate real-time information to their riders. Now, as Co-Founder and Chief Information Officer at Swiftly, Michael is driving the company’s data-driven real-time passenger information system and Mobility as a Service platform.

Transitime leverages state-of-the-art algorithms to predict when public transit vehicles will arrive with unprecedented accuracy. The system has been benchmarked to accurately predict arrival estimates up to 20% more often than current industry-wide services.

Additionally, Transitime is used to visualize and understand how cities move – where transit systems perform as expected and where they don’t. This information is being leveraged to improve the Swiftly Platform, which combines public and private transportation services into a single unified service in real-time. By connecting both private and public transportation modes together into one mobile app experience, Swiftly hopes to reduce private car ownership, congestion, and greenhouse gas emissions across the world.

“We have been working closely with Mike for several months now and are thrilled to have him join our team full time,” said Jonny Simkin, CEO and Co-Founder of Swiftly, Inc. “Mike knows transit systems and cities in and out. We want our next generation Mobility as a Service platform to have global reach, and Mike is uniquely qualified to get us there!”


“I am thrilled to join the Swiftly team,” said Michael Smith.“The Swiftly team has large ambitions to drastically improve urban transportation as we know it. I am excited to take this vision to the next level.”

Swiftly Launches Mobile App for Android Platform

Today, we have released our popular free multi-modal transportation app on Android. Unlike other transit apps which leverage open data, Swiftly’s unique technology platform, called Transitime, generates more accurate transit arrival and departure information based on live vehicle positions, historical travel times, and other factors. Users of the Swiftly mobile app can expect more accurate transit arrival information while watching upcoming vehicles move on a live map.

“We are thrilled to bring more accurate real-time transit information to millions of Android users,” said Jonathan Simkin, founder and CEO of Swiftly, Inc.

Swiftly’s multi-modal trip planner also helps users navigate to any destination by comparing the cost and travel time across public and private transportation modes. Using real-time information, users can compare their nearby transit options side-by-side, seeing important information like live surge pricing, rideshare vehicle ETAs, and even the number of calories one will burn by walking or biking.

In addition, users of Swiftly’s mobile app can report crucial information about their transit system, like delays or crowding, and can share that information with other users automatically. These user reports are visible to other users along the reported transit routes, improving the commute for transit riders with the power of crowdsourced information.

Swiftly Partners With Scoot Networks

Starting today, Swiftly users now have more transportation options at their fingertips! We have partnered with Scoot Networks, provider of on-demand electric motor-scooters in San Francisco, to empower our users with even more ways to get around town!

Swiftly users in San Francisco now have three additional mobility options: Scoot Classic, Scoot Cargo, and Scoot Quad. Directly available within Swiftly’s trip planning mobile app, users can compare the travel time and price of Scoot Network’s electric vehicles alongside public transit, Uber, walking, and biking options.

Using Scoot is easy and fun: all you need is a basic driver’s license (Class C) and be at least 21 years of age. Once you have your membership and complete a short training, you can request a vehicle near you at any time and get scooting!

 

As strong supporters of shared mobility, we are excited to continue expanding our transportation options. Our commitment to multi-modal travel has been strengthened by this new partnership, but this is just one way that Swiftly is working to make it easier for San Franciscans to get around town easier, quicker, and cheaper!

Learn more about Scoot Networks here.

Bay Area residents can get $10 of credit after registering with Scoot through Swiftly, or if they click this link.

Download the Swiftly mobile app for iOS here: goswift.ly/ios.

Scoot on!

The Swiftly Team

Toronto Transit Schedule Adherence & How Swiftly Helps

Riding transit in Toronto is often a mixed bag of emotions. No matter how we all feel about it, many of us rely on TTC on a daily basis, and it remains the backbone of the region’s movement.

At Swiftly, we are transit riders, and found ourselves wondering exactly how often TTC vehicles stick to their given schedule. Which routes are the least timely? While Toronto Transit Commission records its own route performance, some have questioned their metrics, so we decided to look at the data ourselves.

We collected real-time data from NextBus — the official transit information provider for the Toronto Transit Commission — for four weeks between January 26th and February 22nd, 2016. We then analyzed the millions of vehicle arrivals by comparing each actual arrival time against the bus’s schedule to measure how well each route adhered to the timetable.

For the purposes of this analysis, we considered each vehicle’s arrival “on time” if the arrival time of the vehicle was anywhere between one minute earlier and four minutes later than the scheduled arrival time. We gave far less room for error for early bus arrivals since in most cases this would result in missing the bus altogether. TTC’s rapid transit routes (Lines 1, 2, 3, and 4) were excluded from this analysis because they currently don’t provide real-time arrival information.

Results

After analyzing millions of vehicle stops over a four week period, we found that TTC buses and streetcars had an overall on-time rate of 47.0%. Additionally, 44.1% of stops were found to be earlier than scheduled, while 8.9% were late. Some of the system’s most-ridden lines, like the 504 route, which serves over 57,000 commuters on weekdays, only registered a 41.0% on-time rate.

 An image from the animated map seen at the top of this page, displaying TTC’s schedule adherence during a weekday in February. Red circles represent vehicles running ahead of schedule while yellow circles represent vehicles running behind schedule. The larger the circle, the more early or late the vehicle is. Delays are largely centered around downtown and along the Jane Street corridor, while early arrivals are spread throughout the city.

An image from the animated map seen at the top of this page, displaying TTC’s schedule adherence during a weekday in February. Red circles represent vehicles running ahead of schedule while yellow circles represent vehicles running behind schedule. The larger the circle, the more early or late the vehicle is. Delays are largely centered around downtown and along the Jane Street corridor, while early arrivals are spread throughout the city.

Shown above is an image from the animated map seen at the top of this page, displaying TTC’s citywide schedule adherence for 21 minutes during a weekday in February. Each circle represents a transit vehicle — red circles represent vehicles running ahead of schedule while yellow circles represent vehicles running behind schedule (and the much smaller green circles represent on-time vehicles). Predictably, many of the system’s delays appear to be clustered in the downtown area and along the Jane Street corridor, where traffic and overall density can overload street-level transportation. Early-arriving buses and streetcars can be seen spread across the city, showing a system-wide trend.

 The top five most and least timely routes between January 26th and February 22nd, 2016

The top five most and least timely routes between January 26th and February 22nd, 2016

Above is displayed the five least and most timely routes throughout the TTC system. The 510-Spadina streetcar maintained only an 24.9% on-time rate during this period, while the 171-Mt Dennis came out on top as the most reliable route.

Conclusions

From the data, its clear that TTC buses and trains have considerable room for improvement. Many vehicles are arriving earlier than scheduled, creating an unpredictable transit experience, which as many of us know first-hand, can be frustrating and deter riders.

We should note that delays and early arrivals are affected by a number of factors: traffic, weather patterns, and special events all contribute to unpredictable transit behavior. Additionally, city planners and TTC are doing a lot to make transit work better, including the purchase of new vehicle fleets for streetcars, streamlining the fare payment system with Presto, and redesigning King Street to prioritize transit over cars.

Let’s Make Transit Better

The real frustration around transit delays is not having any information about them. That’s why we created a feature in our mobile app, Swiftly, that allows users to report report issues like delays, crowding, and service changes to fellow riders.

By working together, we can get from Point A to Point B faster, more efficiently, and cheaper. We invite you to give Swiftly a try!

The Swiftly Team


About Swiftly

Swiftly makes data-driven software applications that improve urban mobility. For residents, the Swiftly mobile app discovers the fastest and most affordable ways to get around town by analyzing real-time multi-modal information. For government, Swiftly provides software to help cities improve their operational efficiency, make smarter infrastructure investments, and better engage their riders. The company is based in San Francisco, CA and more information can be found at goswift.ly or on Twitter: @SwiftlyInc.

Questions

There are many ways to analyze transit schedule adherence. If you have any questions regarding the data, please don’t hesitate to contact our CEO Jonny Simkin at jonny[at]goswift[dot]ly.

Acknowledgements

This report would not have been possible without the help of Mike Smith, co-founder of Swiftly and former General Manager and Chief Technology Officer at NextBus, Inc.

and many others, including Stan Parkford and Will Dayton.

San Francisco Transit Prediction Accuracy

Real-time arrival information is extremely important for transit riders. If you rely on this information, however, odds are you have felt the frustration of incorrect arrival times. As frequent transit riders, we’ve always been curious to know just how accurate this information truly is.

To answer this question, we collected real-time predictions from NextBus, the official transit information provider for San Francisco, during the month of August 2015 for the entire city of San Francisco every minute — that’s several hundred million data points. We then analyzed the data by comparing each predicted arrival time against the bus’ actual arrival time to measure the accuracy of the prediction. This post outlines our findings