Real-Time Bus Tracking and Customer Information in New York City: MTA’s Open Approach to Doing it Faster and Cheaper

UPDATED Webinar Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

Webinar Description:

This Webinar will explain Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) approach to developing its real-time bus tracking and customer information system (branded “MTA Bus Time”) for its fleet of 6,000 buses and 2.5 million daily, bus riders in New York City.  Mr. Michael Frumin will discuss the technical and procurement/contracting strategies that are allowing MTA to achieve its customer-facing and internal objectives for the project.  These customer-facing objectives include minimizing the time to deliver the MTA Bus Time service to customers, and making the information widely available to all customers wherever, whenever, and however they may want it.  The internal objectives are primarily to minimize both the capital and whole-life cost of the project, as well as to maintain the flexibility to change the system over time as technologies and needs evolve.

The strategies to achieve these objectives are many.  Among the most critical are the adoption of mobile and internet-based delivery of customer information; provisioning of free, publically available developer API’s; use of open standard interfaces and commercially available technology components; sharing of on-bus infrastructure between projects and systems; open source software licensing; and MTA adopting the role of the overall systems integrator willing to contract with multiple vendors.

Webinar Objectives:

The objectives of this webinar are to:

  • Inform other members of the transit and agency community regarding MTA’s approach to developing and implementing a real-time bus tracking and customer information system at reduced costs and schedules
  • Offer lessons learned to peers considering a similar approach
  • Elicit interest among other agencies for co-investment in the open source, software package powering the back end of MTA’s system


Webinar Presenter:

Michael Frumin is the Systems Engineering Manager for MTA’s Bus Customer Information Systems (Bus CIS, aka “MTA Bus Time”) project.  In this capacity, he leads the technical portion of MTA’s effort to develop a real-time bus tracking and customer information system which, when complete, will track a fleet of nearly 6,000 buses and serve over 2.5 million daily riders via a variety of web and mobile interfaces.  Michael joined the MTA Bus Time team while finishing a graduate program at MIT in Transportation and Operations Research.  Prior to MIT, he worked as a software developer and researcher at an open source R&D lab, a $4 billion hedge fund, and a number of internet startups.  A consistent thread throughout his work has been open-licensed or otherwise online, publically accessible data streams, and the use and development of open source software.

Michael lives in Brooklyn, NY, very close to where he grew up.  He attended public schools in New York City and studied Computer Science at Stanford University.  Michael has commuted and traveled via public transportation his entire life, including once traveling half way around the world (a good portion on the Trans-Siberian Railway), only to have to turn around and fly home the way he came.


Webinar Access:

A recording of the webinar can be accessed here:


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