Day in the life of the MBTA system

I put together an animation of all the rail traffic in the course of a day on the MBTA’s red, blue, green and orange lines, including the Mattapan line. Its a great way to see just how complicated the system is that takes me to work every day, and perhaps be a little more patient next time things go less than perfect!

The current version of the animation assumes stop take no time (as does the scheduling data).

I’d thought about doing this before, but it would have taken screen scraping schedule information off the site. I learned recently through a developer outreach that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is running that the MBTA had released their schedule information in the Google transit feed specification (GTFS). With the data in hand, I went to work using the ruby-processing wrapper of the excellent Processing graphics toolkit.


See the video on youtube

5 thoughts on “Day in the life of the MBTA system

  1. Pingback: Open Source on the Open Road « Safe Digression

  2. Chris

    What might it look like if you estimated every stop to be x seconds long? (I honestly have no idea what the average time stopped is).

  3. Pingback: Another MBTA visualization, this time with the commuter rail « Brain Lint

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