Building a Smart City Economy and Information Ecosystem to Motivate Pro-Social Transportation Behavior


Abstract: In the PittSmartLiving project, we view the shift to multimodal transportation in a holistic way. We will design, develop, deploy, and evaluate a platform that will integrate information from and align the incentives of all involved stakeholders (commuters, transport operators, local businesses, and employers) towards increasing the utilization and quality of public transportation. The resulting Cyber-Physical system will (1) provide commuters with real-time information of arrival and utilization of all relevant options of public transit (e.g., bus, subway, shuttles, bikes, etc.), and (2) build a marketplace around multimodal mobility, where businesses can offer time-sensitive incentives connected to this transit information to nearby commuters (e.g., the next bus is too full, come in and enjoy $1 coffee).

In the first year of the project, we have made progress along three dimensions:

  • Understanding Data:
    • We have been working with three types of transit data: public data (e.g., bus schedules in GTFS format), historical data (including bus occupancy levels provided by the Port Authority), and real-time data (e.g., bus arrivals).
  • Designing, Developing, and Deploying Infrastructure:
    • We have continued to maintain and deployed additional PittSmartLiving displays in the Pittsburgh area. We now have 9 such displays installed, including one in the historic City-County Building (Pittsburgh’s City Hall) and a new experimental one (designed from scratch) at the new Port Authority Customer Service Center.
    • We have designed and developed interactive web sites to better explore and understand the available data.
  • Understanding Human Behavior:
    • We performed a lab experiment and plan a field experiment to answer the following questions: (1) How much money would a person need to delay his/her departure by 15 minutes? AND (2) Will this amount be different if they pre-plan?

We are currently developing mobile-friendly web sites to make the information developed by our project available to the public, as the first step before building a mobile app. We have involved 8 graduate and 7 undergraduate students in the project’s research activities. Additional information about this project can be found at

Explanation of Demonstration: Visualize, for Pittsburgh: real-time arrival times and historical bus capacity; for each of the top 50 cities in the US: the average speeds between different points in each city (through interactive maps). Play the "how well do you know your city" game, with data-driven questions about the transit networks of the top 50 cities in the US. Show the results of our lab experiment identifying a valuation for the trade-off between time (e.g., waiting for the next bus) and money (e.g., getting a coupon for $2 off coffee).


  • 1739413
  • 2018
  • CPS-PI Meeting 2018
  • Poster
  • Posters (Sessions 8 & 11)
Submitted by Alexandros Lab… on Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:19