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MBTA launches new Performance Dashboard for transit-watchers

Data visualization site breaks down T's health in color-coded chunks.

Commuters on the MBTA are used to complaining about service interruptions, trading horror stories and blasting the transit agency on social media.

Now, the extended community of T-watchers has a new tool to keep an eye on the network of trains and buses: the MBTA Performance Dashboard, available at MBTABackonTrack.com.

The tool, which the T unveiled Monday, gives commuters a day-to-day look at the system’s reliability, ridership, customer satisfaction and finances.

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“Reliability” means how closely trips track with posted schedules, according to a blog post on the subject. On Sunday, for example, the commuter rail was 96 percent reliable, while buses and the subway were at 78 percent and 84 percent reliability, respectively.

"Our ultimate goal is to make the MBTA one of the best transit systems in the country," state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said in a statement reported by the State House News Service. "The Dashboard reflects our priority of making data-driven decisions and in keeping us accountable when it comes to customer satisfaction."

The site lets users drill down a bit deeper. On the subway, the Green Line fared worst on Sunday, with a score of 69 percent, compared to the Orange Line’s score of 91 percent.

Other data points available on the site:

Other data points available on the site:
  • The T has spent $1.12 billion of its $2.02 billion budget so far this year, which is $60 million less than the amount budgeted year-to-date.
  • T riders in most recent surveys rate the service at a bit more than three out of five stars on average.
  • In January, commuters took 1.08 million trips on buses and subway trains. In January of last year, there were 1.05 million trips.

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Updates are coming, according to the site’s "about" page, including “more metrics, more granularity, and more interactive features.”

The site’s launch also comes with a new MBTA-run blog promising “in-depth explorations of data-related topics.”

A few users reported the website wasn’t working for them Monday morning, but the tool appeared to be functional again shortly after.


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