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An Open-Source Framework to Implement Kalman Filter Bus Arrival Predictions

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Abstract

The accuracy of vehicle arrival predictions affects every aspect of transit performance including ridership, reliability, and operating costs. Kalman Filter algorithms have been shown to provide more accurate predictions than simple regression. This paper presents a scalable framework to implement Kalman Filters on an entire bus network running live. A novel architecture to cache the data and weight inputs based on current operating conditions is presented. All the necessary features to support Kalman Filter predictions are described and implemented in TheTransitClock, an open-source prediction tool. TheTransitClock was deployed on the Metro Transit bus network in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region for one month. The Kalman Filter algorithm predicted the arrivals of over 900 buses on 167 routes. The accuracy and sensitivity of the method was compared to a schedule-based prediction method used in practice. The Kalman Filter was found to provide more accurate and stable predictions, especially in times and places that are difficult to predict with conventional methods.

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Notes

  1. Although (Cathey and Dailey 2003) was published later, Dueker and collaborators (Dueker et al. 2001) used an earlier version of the paper, namely (Cathey and Dailey 2001)

  2. https://github.com/TheTransitClock

  3. Although for the implementation, a prediction method based on simple regression was used.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Metro Transit for funding this project and supporting the development of TheTransitClock. We are particularly grateful to Laura Matson, Joey Reid, Ben Rajkowski, and Eric Lind for helping navigate the data and understand how service is delivered. We also thank Raphael Barcham, Sheldon Brown, and Lenny Caraballo who participated in the implementation of TheTransitClock. Finally, the authors wish to thank the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and especially the late Yupo Chan who led the Chan Wui Rising Star Workshop.

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Correspondence to Simon Berrebi.

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Crudden, S.Ó., Berrebi, S. An Open-Source Framework to Implement Kalman Filter Bus Arrival Predictions. Netw Spat Econ 23, 429–443 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11067-021-09541-w

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