How long to wait? Predicting bus arrival time with mobile phone based participatory sensing

Pengfei Zhou, Yuanqing Zheng, Mo Li

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

216 Citations (Scopus)


The bus arrival time is primary information to most city transport travelers. Excessively long waiting time at bus stops often discourages the travelers and makes them reluctant to take buses. In this paper, we present a bus arrival time prediction system based on bus passengers' participatory sensing. With commodity mobile phones, the bus passengers' surrounding environmental context is effectively collected and utilized to estimate the bus traveling routes and predict bus arrival time at various bus stops. The proposed system solely relies on the collaborative effort of the participating users and is independent from the bus operating companies, so it can be easily adopted to support universal bus service systems without requesting support from particular bus operating companies. Instead of referring to GPS enabled location information, we resolve to more generally available and energy efficient sensing resources, including cell tower signals, movement statuses, audio recordings, etc., which bring less burden to the participatory party and encourage their participation. We develop a prototype system with different types of Android based mobile phones and comprehensively experiment over a 7 week period. The evaluation results suggest that the proposed system achieves outstanding prediction accuracy compared with those bus company initiated and GPS supported solutions. At the same time, the proposed solution is more generally available and energy friendly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMobiSys'12 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys'12 - Low Wood Bay, Lake District, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Jun 201229 Jun 2012


Conference10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys'12
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLow Wood Bay, Lake District


  • bus arrival time prediction
  • mobile phones
  • participatory sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications

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