What is Real Time? Interview with Moovit’s Real-Time Team Leader

Not every city in Moovit has Real Time bus information and in order to understand what Real Time is and why its challenging, we interviewed Moovit’s Real-Time expert, Ella Bider.

Moovit: How do you define Real-Time?

Ella: RT is data-based intelligent prediction of vehicle arrival times to points on its route. Moovit provides RT on its app for bus, tram and trains.

Moovit: How does Moovit find Real-Time?

Ella: Moovit has two ways to get the RT data. The first is the integration of Estimated Time of Arrivals (ETAs) that are calculated by the “provider” which usually refers to the transit agency. The second case is where the provider gives the geographic position of a vehicle (GPS data) and Moovit calculates the ETAs to the next stops using Moovit’s specialized algorithm.

Moovit: How does Real-Time work on the app?

Ella: When the user opens Moovit, the app sends the request to our server. The server response contains static data like the stop name, relevant route data, as well as RT data, if available. The RT data is refreshed every few seconds until the user closes the page.

Moovit: How many cities in the world have Real-Time capabilities? Of these, how many does Moovit cover?

Ella: This number is constantly changing and Moovit’s Operations Team is working very hard to connect us to new providers. 

Moovit: What are the challenges for Real-Time? Why isn’t it available everywhere?

Ella: There are many challenges in RT, starting from getting the GPS data to calculating exact ETAs. There are lots of road factors that introduce uncertainty and complication to measurements and calculations like traffic jams, road accidents and events in the city, just to name a few. Even the presence of skyscrapers can cause deviation in GPS measurements!

Moovit: What solutions does Moovit have?

Ella: TimePro, Moovit’s Real-Time Vehicle Location System, is a product Moovit has developed to provide RT to transit agencies across the world who don’t have the resources to invest in expensive, outdated and hard to deploy solutions for RT. We built a plug-and-play solution that delivers reliable real-time schedules to passengers, while also providing a real-time operations dashboard for administrators. We are really proud of this offering. 

Moovit: What’s Moovit’s view on RT?

Ella: We know how important accurate RT information is for our users and therefore, our team works hard on developing smart algorithms, collecting statistical data to improve static data and the predicting RT in the most advanced and intelligent way. We have a team dedicated specifically to RT at Moovit, showing the importance of it to our app.