mbta
MBTA buses will soon get a new GPS tracking system. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston

Within six weeks, all MBTA buses will be outfitted with new cellular/GPS vehicle trackers that T officials said will give bus riders better information about where their bus is and when they might expect it to arrive at their stop.

MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez said Monday that MBTA buses currently report their location data every 60 seconds or more. The new GPS trackers will report bus location data every two to four seconds, he said.

The implementation of new bus trackers coincides with the launch of a real-time bus arrivals prediction system that Ramirez said is expected to be 84 percent accurate, an improvement over the T's current system accuracy rate of 75 percent.

The T's system "literally required years of fine tuning" to get to 75 percent accuracy, Ramirez said, and the new vendor, Swiftly, was chosen after T officials compared bidders' predictions to raw data and evaluated which bidder had the best predictions.

 

New bus data will be paired with location information for subway lines on street-level digital display boards outside the Orange Line station at Tufts Medical Center, the first time the T has provided real-time information on bus and transit options together, according to Ramirez.

The general manager said the T hopes to roll out real-time information on more digital display screens in the near future.

"As we continue to expand the use of our digital screens, we are looking forward to exploring more real-time information and providing that about MBTA services that benefit our customers," Ramirez said.

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