New Big Data Formula Predicts Train Delays

Work by mathematicians in Sweden could help commuters.

(AP Photo/Fredrik Sandberg/SCANPIX)

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One of the non-joys of getting around in a city is dealing with unpredictable transit delays. Even in the most sophisticated of modern train systems, it feels like sometimes it only takes a light drizzle to send trains behind schedule and screw up your whole commute.

In Sweden, mathematicians now have a formula that could help commuters plan better by predicting delays. Gizmodo reports that Stockholmståg, the company that runs and manages the trains in Stockholm, developed an algorithm that “can give commuters a good idea on how nightmarish a commute might be up to two hours before they arrive at their station.”

According to International Railway Journal, the “automated forecasting” will also help the transit operator make decisions about how to dispatch trains amid problems and keep passengers informed. Stockholmståg plans to make the information accessible to riders with a new app soon.

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Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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Tags: public transportationcommutingbig datastockholm

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