LA’s Plan to Reboot Its Bus System—Using Cell Phone Data

Ridership on Los Angeles's bus system is plummeting, so the transit agency is redesigning it—with the help of location data from about 5 million cell phones. Privacy issues aside, it's a fascinating use of data.

The old rules for building a transit network concentrate service between the places where the most people live and the places with the most jobs. But that's actually a bad approximation of how a modern American city works. People move around for a lot of reasons besides commuting. “What we've learned is the areas that have the greatest population density and employment density aren't necessarily the areas where we have a lot of trip-making,” Cheung says.


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