Innovation That Matters

App lets Boston-area bus riders rate their trip


QualiT is an app enabling bus riders on the Silver Line to rate the quality of their travel.

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We’ve seen technology improving public transport in a variety of ways, from priority seat alerts that light up when a pregnant traveler is on board, to self-driving buses that are hailed with an app. Now, with QualiT, MIT’s new bus ride rating app, researchers can compare real-time user experiences on public transport in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts.

Riders are prompted to rate their trip every time they take a Silver Line bus. The app collects anonymous data, and is free and available for both Android and Apple devices. The app is a collaborative project between the MIT departments of urban studies and civil engineering, the Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA) and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.

The results gathered will help the MBTA improve its understanding of peoples’ modes and paths of travel. Currently a pilot, MBTA says that if user engagement with the app is high enough, they will expand its use to other areas of the public transport system. How else could public sector industries adapt private sector approaches to customer engagement?



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