Probabilistic Analysis of Operational Transit Data to Create Insights for Planners

Friday, January 25, 2019 - 1:25pm - 2:25pm
Lind 305
Eric Lind (Metro Transit)
Every day Metro Transit implements transit service across the region, with the main purpose of providing about 250,000 trips to destinations. As a secondary consequence of the service, thanks to records of smart card tags and mobile phone apps, some detailed information about how people use the system is known. A holy grail for transportation planners would be a set of all desired trips across the region, and when they would be made. In our data instead we have partial data in two ways. First, the users are constrained by the actual, rather than desired, transit network. More fundamentally, the tag-on-only system used by Metro Transit means that any trip’s origin in the network can be known, but the destination must be inferred. Additional data, from on-board intercept surveys to granular speed and load analyses, can be incorporated for better understanding of demand. In this talk I describe the advantages and challenges of acting to analyze and interpret these data for decision makers, focused on probabilistic trip-chaining algorithms and network analyses.

Eric M. Lind is Manager of Research and Analytics in the Strategic Initiatives group at Metro Transit, the largest public transportation provider in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Eric has a Ph.D in Ecology from the University of Maryland and worked as a researcher in quantitative ecology at the University of Minnesota before joining Metro Transit in 2017. He uses the statistical and analytical skills he developed exploring ecosystem dynamics to aid Metro Transit in understanding the similarly complex systems of human interaction with a transportation network. His work has included models to predict new operator longevity with the agency, measure efficiencies of their internal systems, explain preferences and behavior of customers, and forecast trends in performance. He still considers himself an entomologist.