Boston’s oldest subway line is set to enter the 21st century, as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) announced it would begin providing real-time location data for Green Line trains starting in October. The MBTA will implement data sharing in three stages, with full integration complete by the end of 2014.
Initially, real-time location data will only be available for above-ground Green Line trains. By the beginning of December, MBTA hopes to start posting predicted arrival times for surface lines; countdowns will be posted at each station and available via mobile device. Subway trains will be added to the real-time data feed in the third and final phase, scheduled to begin in early winter.
The Green Line data will join MBTA’s open-source feed, which the agency has been making available to developers since 2009 as part of its Open Data Initiative. The measure has resulted in dozens of third-party mobile apps, which MBTA links on its website alongside its own travel times.
MBTA is using standard GPS hardware for tracking on all 225 Green Line trains, keeping the project cost around $1 million. Subway trains will be monitored via sensors in the tracks, called automatic vehicle identifiers. All installation and data work is being done in-house, further helping keep costs down.