OneBusAway began as a simple desire to improve the daily commute by providing real-time transit information in the Puget Sound.  It has since grown into an open source project with an active community around the world.  In addition, OneBusAway has made possible a growing body of research that examines the impacts of real-time traveler information on the attitudes and behavior of transit customers.

The original OneBusAway research projects began at the University of Washington with a team that included Dr. Brian Ferris, Dr. Kari Watkins, and their advisor Dr. Alan Borning.  Since then, research on OneBusAway has spread to the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida and the Urban Transportation and Information Lab (UTIL), run by Dr. Kari Watkins, at Georgia Tech.