Real-time Estimation of Transit Origin-Destination Patterns and Delays Using Low-Cost Ubiquitous Advanced Technologies

The Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU Poly) research team proposes utilizing Bluetooth technology to estimate origin-destination demands and station wait times of users of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Subway system. If the entrance and exit turnstiles at subway stations are equipped with Bluetooth receivers, it is possible to capture Origin-Destination (O-D) information for some percentage of the riders with visible Bluetooth devices. The riders who have electronic devices such as most cell phones, iPods, and computers carry unique information in their devices' Bluetooth media access control (MAC) address. This information can be used scrambled and used anonymously to detect the origin and destination of riders by matching data collected at entrances and exits from the system. Assuming that visible Bluetooth (BT) devices are uniformly distributed among the riders, it is possible to estimate a transit O-D matrix for the entire system not only on a daily basis but also over a time period allowing the agency analyze time-dependent OD demand for different station pairs. Moreover the same BT sensors proposed by the research teams will capture waiting times of the same sample of transit riders at fixed locations in each station. This information will then be converted average hourly, daily, weekly delays that can be used in conjunction with OD matrices. Estimation of daily and hourly OD demands and delays is important for transit agencies because it can help improve their operations, reduce delays, and save money, among other benefits. As a low-cost and easy to implement alternative to surveys or other advanced technologies, the research team proposes tracking anonymous Bluetooth IDs using inexpensive, small and easy to deploy Bluetooth detectors / readers with specialized software developed by the research team. Following a literature review and device testing, a series of one-day pilot tests will be conducted in coordination with the MTA to iron out all of the possible hardware and software issues. Following further consultation with the MTA, a full one week to one months test will be conducted with continuous data collection and monitoring to assess the feasibility and usefulness of long-term data collection using the proposed sensor technology. Two software tools to post process the collected data and to perform self Real-time Estimation of Transit Origin-Destination Patterns & Delays Using Low-Cost Ubiquitous Advanced Technologies Region II UTRC 2012-2013 Faculty-Initiated Research Proposal ii diagnosis and remote data acquisition functions will be developed as part of the overall research project. The results and recommendations will be provided to the MTA and other interested transit agencies.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $146272.00
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    University Transportation Research Center

    City College of New York
    Marshak Hall, Suite 910, 160 Convent Avenue
    New York, NY  United States  10031
  • Project Managers:

    Thorson, Ellen

    Eickemeyer, Penny

  • Performing Organizations:

    Rutgers University

    Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
    100 Brett Road
    Piscataway, New Jersey  United States  08854

    State University of New York (SUNY)- Maritime

    6 Pennyfield Avenue
    Throggs Neck, NY  United States  10465

    Polytechnic University

    Transportation Training and Research Center
    333 Jay Street
    Brooklyn, NY  United States  11201
  • Principal Investigators:

    Nassif, Hani

    Shlayan, Neveen

    Ozbay, Kaan

  • Start Date: 20140601
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20151231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39807

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01566524
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University Transportation Research Center
  • Contract Numbers: 49997-44-25, 49997-45-25
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 17 2015 1:00AM