Big Data refers to large, continuous sets of data. Public transit agencies generate volumes of data every day through vehicle location systems, fareboxes, and other systems. These large datasets can be analyzed to inform decisions and solve problems. Organizations in other industries have turned their focus to applying significant quantities of data to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and make better-informed decisions. Similarly, the transit industry is engaged in big data analysis.
APTA is undertaking an initiative on Big Data and the public transportation industry. As part of this initiative, selected APTA members engaged in a conversation on Big Data and its role in the industry. Roundtable discussions with public transit agencies and private sector APTA members provided valuable insight on this topic. APTA also conducted a survey of transit agency members. The survey revealed that 94 percent of agencies are using Big Data techniques and methods to improve their agency.