Optimizing Public Transit

Optimizing Public Transit

We are developing tools to help city planners make smarter decisions around real-time dynamic scheduling of public transportation.

Project milestone

In Development

Idea Complete
Prototype Complete
In Development

Impact statement

Right now San Francisco transit planners can interact with a live demo of our tools by going to Our tools are designed to fully leverage as much parallel computing power that is available to process the massive amount of data gathered every minute by the SFMTA. The tools provide intelligent analysis of the data so planners can make better decisions regarding the scheduling of public transit. Right now you can see how far behind or ahead of schedule buses are, where on a route buses tend to fall behind (or get ahead of) schedule, and how many passengers are onboard the vehicle at any given stop. <br>These tools enable a planner, and in the future a computer, to make better real-time decisions about where buses should be added or removed in order to optimize the entire transit system as a whole. While building these tools we worked with key members of the SFMTA to make sure we were solving problems that mattered. One of the people most influential to our project was Chris Pangilinan, an engineer at the SFMTA. According to Mr. Pangilinan, the two biggest problems SF transit planners face is where and why vehicles are slowed down along their route, and how to ensure that the system is providing service to the places that people need to go. Our tools help planners answer these questions by providing a deeper level of analysis into the data that they have available. Ultimately planners can move extra buses around the system to respond to the cities needs as in the case of an emergency; or in San Francisco’s case, a big event like Outside Lands. With our tools, planners can dig deeper into San Francisco transit data, enabling them to cut expenses by removing buses from routes that don’t get used, and also provide a better transit experience by adding buses to routes that are overcrowded. We think that operators will see patterns emerge in the data that let them understand why buses are running behind or ahead of schedule. With our tools we can exactly pinpoint locations on the route where this is happening helping planners make lasting change, not just temporary adjustments. While these tools help transit planners do their job better, ultimately the real winner is the city dweller who gets a faster, more reliable transit system.


  • SDN
  • OpenFlow
  • Low-latency
  • Advanced wireless


Cameron Saul, Noah Sidman-Gale, Lucky, and Rasta.