Visualizations of MBTA alert data for red line
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Red Line Alerts.ipynb


Visualizations of MBTA alert data for red line

What is this?

The Red Line is a crucial public transit artery in Boston, but is also notoriously unreliable.

A while back, I asked the MBTA's developer office for data on historical Red Line alerts and they gave me a dump of all service alerts up to that day. I recently got a refresh of all 2016 alerts and decided to look at 2016's full set of alerts.

I took all the alerts, filtered out ones that didn't involve the Red Line, and then removed all alerts that had a "cause" related to construction work, police actions, and medical emergencies. (I figured those didn't directly relate to track or train problems.)

I then labeled stations present in the alert text for issues "at" or "near" stations, or "between" stations. "At" or "near" counted for one issue at a station; "between" incremented the two mentioned stations by a smaller amount.

See also: Reddit discussion.


Data used here was kindly provided by Use of MBTA data is subject to the MassDOT Developer's License Agreement which can be found at

Basemap by Michael Kvrivishvili on Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.