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MIT bus service to open live arrival data

Would mean students could craft applications and hardware based on real-time information
Photo: Patrick Gillooly

NextBus, a provider of real-time tracking tools for transit agencies, has confirmed it will open its set of live data for MIT's own Tech Shuttle buses, allowing anyone to design applications that take advantage of arrival information.

The announcement comes ahead of this weekend's hackathon sponsored by MIT's Center for Future Civic Media and the MBTA, the Massachusetts agency responsible for nearly 200 bus routes in the Boston metro area. The hackathon thus will include live data not only for the five major MBTA routes already outfitted with real-time GPS tracking but also for the shuttle MIT community members use on their own campus.

Hackathon participants are invited to create mobile phone apps, LED signs for placement in stores near bus stops, and anything else they can envision to make passengers' lives easier. After battling Charlie Card hackers, the MBTA will now enlist these and other developers' creativity to use real-time data to generate the next generation of customer service. The hackathon will feature an overview of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's Developers Initiative on Friday at noon, followed by the hackathon itself.

The hackathon is scheduled for this Friday (12-7 p.m. in E15-209) and Saturday (12-7 p.m. in E14-525) and is open to the public, though space is limited. Registration is at

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