The new Social-Transportation Analytic Toolbox (STAT) for Transit Networks, developed by NITC researchers in a multi-university collaboration, is a dynamic platform that combines Twitter, general transit feed specification (GTFS), and census transportation planning products (CTPP)—in this case, job density data—to help agencies evaluate overall system performance and identify connectivity gaps. It can also act as a decision support tool for recommending service improvements. The STAT is an open-source, publicly accessible toolbox with three components:
1. Temporal distribution of transit stops’ average travel times,
2. Transit stop positioning in Google Maps with geomapped tweets around that stop, and
3. Overall transit access visualization at the TAZ (traffic analysis zone) level.
This toolbox is novel and essential to transit agencies in two aspects. First, it enables the integration, analysis and visualization of two major new open transportation data sources—social media and GTFS data—to support transit decision making. Second, it allows transit agencies to evaluate service network efficiency and access equity of transit systems in a cohesive manner, and identify areas for improvement to better achieve these multi-dimensional objectives. Two transit agencies, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and TriMet, worked with the research team to evaluate the usability of the toolbox.