TransLink says better bus departure time estimates are coming

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VANCOUVER – JULY 05: Downtown Vancouver Bus Transportation System on July 05, 2008 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver great accessibility for visitors, it is the third largest city in Canada / Shutterstock

TransLink says users will be able to plan their trips better thanks to more accurate bus departure estimates.

“We’re proud to have developed the new algorithm in-house, with collaboration from technology companies Microsoft and T4G,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “This method is going to result in better information for customers, who can make more informed decisions throughout their journey. During the pilot phase the difference between predicted and actual bus departure times improved by 74 per cent.”

Combining live bus location data with machine learning algorithm, the methodology improves existing estimates by considering major factors that affect bus departures, according to TransLink. These include weather conditions and journey estimates at different times of day and night.  To ensure accurate predictions for the entire transportation network, the algorithm involves over 16,000 machine learning models.

The new algorithm has been incorporated into TransLink’s Next Bus website and SMS tool (text the bus stop number and bus route number to 33333 for next departure estimates). Third-party applications that are already using our bus departure estimates, such as the Transit App and Google Maps, will also use the new estimation method.