MBTA SL 5 Bus

Weekend round-up

Some stories you may have missed last week: MBTA tests all-door BRT boarding, Virgin Group invests in Hyperloop, and Transport for London says open data boosts economy.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority tested all-door boarding on two of its bus rapid transit routes last spring.  The pilot showed promising results for shortening dwell time at busy stops, which can improve on-time performance and shorten overall travel time for passengers. Researchers conducted a brief intercept survey with customers on the targeted routes.  About 65% of respondents said their trip was at least somewhat faster than usual; 30% saw no difference. The MBTA partnered with BostonBRT for the pilot.  Read more in the MBTA Data Blog.

Virgin Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop One.  In return for the investment, Hyperloop One will incorporate the Virgin name into its branding. “The combination of our proven technology and Virgin’s expertise in transportation, operations, safety, and passenger experience will accelerate the commercialization phase of our company’s development,” said Hyperloop One co-founder and president of engineering Josh Giegel in a statement. “Together with Virgin, we will not only transform how we live, we will rethink how it feels to travel by creating a passenger experience that people will enjoy and look forward to riding. Our goal is to make travel fun again.” Link to full story in BBC News.

A report commissioned by Transport for London (UK)  estimates that the availability of open data has benefited London’s economy by £130 million a year. According to the report, more than 600 applications use TfL’s open data feeds — 80 different data fields are available — and 42% of Londoners use the apps.  The benefits are concentrated in just a few areas: First, the report values the time saved in waiting for vehicles between £70 million and £90 million.  Second, better information can enable customers to travel more easily and take more trips; the benefit is estimated at up to £20 million per year.  Third, about 13,000 app developers have benefited in the range of £12 million to £15 million a year.  (That’s about £1,000 per developer per year.)  Finally, TfL receives additional data from these apps that can help the organization better understand its customers. “This research shows the full power of open data and how it can be embraced to improve our city to meet the needs of Londoners,” said London’s chief digital officer Theo Blackwell in a statement.

Photo credit: Susan Mara Bregman

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