MBTA sets up a public online performance monitor

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/03/28/mbta-sets-up-a-public-online-performance-monitor/

BOSTON – For many, commuting to work can be an unpleasant experience, especially when it means trying to squeeze into an over-packed trolley or being left stranded in inclement weather waiting for a long time for a bus to arrive.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority hopes to ease some of that discomfort by setting up a way for the general public to track on-time performance of greater Boston’s subway and trolley lines and its 170 bus routes, using something called a performance dashboard.

But the monitor actually doesn’t show real-time or hourly data about the on-time performance of particular lines. Instead it merely reflects the previous day’s performance, and then only when a user digs down into the site. But it does provide historical daily performance statistics that can be examined, for instance, to see what the typical delay rate may be for Mondays.

“Our ultimate goal is to make the MBTA one of the best transit systems in the country,” said Stephanie Pollack, the state transportation secretary, in a statement about the new service. “The dashboard reflects our priority of making data-driven decisions and in keeping us accountable when it comes to customer satisfaction.”

The dashboard also will show information about ridership, financials and customer satisfaction, based on online surveys.

The creation of the dashboard follows by a few months a pledge by the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board to make public more information about transit services.

“Performance metrics have a variety of audiences – riders, internal managers, policymakers, and others,” the control board said in its report to the state Legislature. “The FMCB seeks to develop measures that are responsive to each group’s interests. Further, it also seeks to continually update its measures to insure that performance measurement does not stagnate and is a source of ongoing improvement.”

In coming months, the T plans to enhance the data presented on the dashboard with additional information on things like spending plans to improve services.