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Taking the bus in D.C. could become a little more pleasant thanks to two technology-based initiatives Metro announced on Wednesday.

The first is a new system called “BusETA”—now in beta—which will replace the “NextBus” system and officially launch in April. BusETA uses “an open-source arrival-prediction algorithm that is quickly becoming a standard in the transit industry,” according to a Metro release. The system updates twice per minute, displaying the time and distance for up to the next three bus arrivals, and gets rid of those infamous “ghost buses” users of other prediction systems may be familiar with. In addition to listing nearby routes based on a rider’s location, BusETA will provide advisories and alerts.

The second involves new software updates and equipment on 144 buses along “seven high-ridership routes.” Stemming from a Federal Transit Administration grant, these “transit signal priority” systems will bounce off particular traffic signals and may “extend a green light or shorten a red light by five to 10 seconds,” provided that circumstances allow for it. In effect, the TSP system will shorten travel times. The five District corridors being “optimized” for this system are:

  • Wisconsin Avenue NW – MetroExtra 37
  • 16th Street NW – MetroExtra S9
  • 7th Street/Georgia Avenue NW – MetroExtra 79
  • 14th Street – MetroExtra 16X, Metrobus 53, 11Y
  • 18th & 19th Streets NW – MetroExtra 16Y and Metrobus 3Y

The other two are in Virginia. “TSP is expected to be fully implemented on all seven corridors by June 30 following work by the local jurisdictions to upgrade traffic signals and related equipment,” Metro says in a second release today.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery