Example of Busstat

Featured by Transit Center. 

Pledges made earlier this summer by Governor Cuomo and MTA chair Joe Lhota about fixing NYC’s subways and reforming the MTA are falling like dominoes. In June, Lhota pledged a “top to bottom audit of the entire [MTA] organization” in 30 days. Last week, the MTA said hiring Pat Foye as the new president had accomplished the needed organizational reform. In June, Lhota said a long-range subway plan would be issued in 60 days. This week, the MTA said its short term plan encompasses both the short and long terms.  And in early July, MTA Chair Joe Lhota announced in an internal memo that MTA would publish a public dashboard “in 60 days” to allow New Yorkers to see how the agency is performing and hold it accountable. No sign of that yet (the 60 day mark is up this week). But where the MTA and Cuomo administration may decline to tread, graduate students have stepped in to fill the void.  

A team from the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) has launched the “NYC Bus Profile Dashboard” evaluating 200 of the MTA’s bus routes using three performance indicators: average speed, excess wait time, and a novel metric the students are calling the “route lateness factor”. These indicators are meant to measure the quality of MTA’s bus service in a way that meaningfully captures the customer experience.

The students’ assignment was to develop a comprehensive performance measurement tool that was accessible and relevant to riders, agency board members, and staff — the sort of dashboard that the MTA can and should publish. They used the MTA’s real time bus data to underpin the dashboard, but the MTA’s dashboard should report on performance across the agency, including both buses and subways at a bare minimum.