Trends in Mobile Transit Information Utilization: An Exploratory Analysis of Transit App in New York City

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

technology - intelligent transport systems, technology - passenger information, technology - geographic information systems, place - north america, place - urban


Transit App, real-time transit information, trip planning


Smartphone applications that provide transit information are now very popular. However, there is limited research that examines when and where passengers use mobile transit information. The objective of this research was to perform an exploratory analysis of the use of a smartphone application known as Transit App, which provides real-time transit information and trip planning (schedule) functionality. Backend data from Transit App were examined by time of day and day of week in the New York City metropolitan area. The results show that the pattern of both the trip planning feature and overall real-time information usage follow the typical pattern of transit ridership, which has morning and evening peaks. Additionally, self-reported household locations of Transit App users in the New York City area were compared with household socioeconomic characteristics (specifically, income, ethnicity, and age) from census data using GIS visualizations and the Pearson correlation coefficient, but they do not appear to be correlated. This implies that passengers use Transit App regardless of household income, race, or age trends in their neighborhood. This exploratory study examined a rich new data source—backend data from a transit information smartphone application—that could be used in many future analyses to help transit agencies better understand how transit riders use information and plan their trips.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by the Journal of Public Transportation, copyright remains with them.