Fast Data Makes the Bus Come Faster

Commuting in the Bay Area is a hot button topic for most residents. Almost everyone has an opinion on the traffic or public transportation, including employee commuter shuttles. The area’s main freeways are jam-packed during rush hour, especially on “Traffic Tuesdays.”

Getting to Work

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For those who don’t drive, there are a number of options around the Bay to get to work—BART, Caltrain, VTA, and Muni, to name a few. And on those bus shelters and BART cars, you may have noticed TIBCO’s promotions for its annual conference, TIBCO NOW. A friend of mine caught sight of that purple lightning bolt at a Muni stop in the Mission District and texted me: “Does Fast Data make the bus come faster?

It got me thinking, and well, yes, Fast Data should make the bus come faster.

How Data Can Change Your Commute

While complex and variable, public transportation agencies have service levels they must deliver against—in addition to other constraints, like weather, traffic, and mechanical issues.

Fast Data is all about delivering the right information at the right time. For a train car, for example, that involves relaying information to the engineer that a car needs servicing as a cooling unit on one car is malfunctioning. And while it’s not broken yet, preventive maintenance can reduce the number of train cars or buses that are out of service for unplanned maintenance—the kind that makes you wait and late for work.

Real-time traffic alerts from public transportation vehicles en route could, whenever possible, provide operators with information to route around traffic, construction, accidents, or other disruptions to keep the system moving with as little delay as possible.

Now, how do we address capacity issues for those folks left waiting on the street because their bus was full? Cross Fast Data with the Internet of Things and just about anything is possible. Your ideas?