Thursday, July 5, 2012

Announcing the OneBusAway Ambassadors Program

Hi there, OBA power users. Do you want to get in on the action?

We all recognize that there have been data errors in Seattle-area real-time bus arrival information stemming from a variety of sources. We also all know that King County Metro is working hard to fix it, but they are limited to their own diagnostic data.  It’s the user on the street and on the bus who knows exactly when they get a prediction error and it’s that user that we’re giving a chance to help fix it.  Hopefully you’ve all seen the error reporting feature in the iPhone app.  (A similar feature is being developed for Android as well.)  To build off of this feature and use those error reports better, we have a new program starting up called the OneBusAway Ambassadors.  OneBusAway has always been a community-generated and supported tool.  We were started by UW students with help from some great UW faculty.  We are trying to maintain that community support.  So if you are a OneBusAway fan and are interested in beta testing-type endeavors, now is your change to jump in.  We’re currently recruiting volunteers to serve as OneBusAway Ambassadors.

The Ambassador program will initially involve a set of OBA Ambassadors viewing and validating the incoming error reports created via the iPhone error reporting function as well as validating emails to OBA regarding prediction errors.  The OBA Ambassadors will act as liaisons in which to aggregate and identify trends in errors based on the actual bus or the route that is being reported. This information will get passed back to the relevant agency or the OBA staff in order to assist them in error identification and resolution.  We are currently planning on each Ambassador  devoting about 2-3 hours per week.   The rewards will be endless in the form of kudos from the public, knowing that you are making transit easier to use, and really cool OneBusAway Ambassador apparel that will make you the envy of your transit buddies.

If you are interested in being a OneBusAway Ambassador, email Kari Watkins at

Thanks for your support of OneBusAway!