Bus running time prediction using a statistical pattern recognition technique

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, technology - passenger information, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring, place - north america, ridership - growth


bus running time, real-time prediction, automatic vehicle location (AVL), statistical pattern recognition, non-parametric regression, LOWESS, Ottawa


Given that real-time bus arrival information is viewed positively by passengers of public transit, it is useful to enhance the methodological basis for improving predictions. Specifically, data captured and communicated by intelligent systems are to be supplemented by reliable predictive travel time. This paper reports a model for real-time prediction of urban bus running time that is based on statistical pattern recognition technique, namely locally weighted scatter smoothing. Given a pattern that characterizes the conditions for which bus running time is being predicted, the trained model automatically searches through the historical patterns which are the most similar to the current pattern and on that basis, the prediction is made. For training and testing of the methodology, data retrieved from the automatic vehicle location and automatic passenger counter systems of OC Transpo (Ottawa, Canada) were used. A comparison with other methodologies shows enhanced predictive capability.