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Undergraduate Honors Thesis: Why is the Bus Stuck? Using Archived Automated Vehicle Location Data for the Estimation and Categorization of Bus Transit Delay

Stop Window Line Graph
Figure 4: Stop windows are largely consistent across trip runs and can be used to define units of analysis.

By Ehab Ebeid ’19


In this project, Ebeid implemented software that transportation planners can use to understand the sources of bus transit delay at the bus stop and the interstop segment levels. As a case study, he used a recent second-by-second bus automated vehicle location (AVL) dataset by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The resulting tool is designed to run in little time, requires little technical expertise to interpret, and is usable by different agencies, given that the underlying data is formatted in a similar way.

The project is additionally concerned with what AVL data resolution is appropriate for different applications. Though better transit feeds require granular temporal resolutions, a second-by-second dataset does not provide a more precise estimation of interstop durations and speeds. For estimating delay observed within stop windows — notably, dwell time — a system that promptly reports a change in the bus state is more important than producing frequent GPS readings.

The full thesis will be available from the Cornell University Library in spring 2020.

Course: CRP 4920 Undergraduate Honors Thesis Research

Instructor: Nicholas J. Klein


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