OneBusAway: Improving the Usability of Public Transit


Public transit systems play an important role in providing transportation mobility to a significant portion of the community, while at the same time combating traf?c congestion, reducing carbon emissions, and promoting compact, sustainable urban communities. We can help existing riders and encourage new riders by enhancing the usability of public transit through good transit traveler information systems. I describe OneBusAway, a set of transit tools focused on providing real-time information to transit riders in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. I present our design investigations into the barriers to wider use of public transit and describe a principled framework for prioritization of future enhancements of OneBusAway. I present a number of speci?c enhancements, including work in the area of intelligent, real-time trip planning and service alerts in the mobile domain, as well as crowd-sourcing the validation of public transit data, both describing the motivation for these tools and their evaluation. Finally, I present evaluations of OneBusAway that demonstrate the value of the system across a variety of measures. I speci?cally show how OneBusAway improves satisfaction with public transit, reduces wait times, increases transit usage, encourages walking, and improves perception of safety among riders.


Ferris, B. (2011) “OneBusAway: Improving the Usability of Public Transit.”  PhD thesis, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington, 2011.


dissertation – local pdf (10 MB)

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