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The Many Uses of GTFS Data (Oregon PTAC, May 2014)

Aaron Antrim

Aaron Antrim

on 10 January 2017

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Transcript of The Many Uses of GTFS Data (Oregon PTAC, May 2014)

Possibilities for GTFS
Opening the Door to Transit &
Multi-modal Applications for
Passengers, Planners, and Managers

Oregon PTAC Meeting, 12 May 2014
Aaron Antrim

GTFS Definition & Background
Concluding thoughts
Trillium Solutions, Inc.
Portland, Oregon
Engage with developers, transit customers
Understand applications
and benefits

GTFS = General Transit Feed Specification
Created in 2005 by Google and TriMet
Now a de facto standard, it is is the most popularly-used data format to describe fixed-route transit services in the world
More than 200 transit agencies in the U.S. provide public GTFS data
Active, evolving standard
The full Spec is at
Trip planning and maps
Timetable & maps creation
Mobile applications
Accessibility / contexts
People with disabilities
Planning / analysis
Real-time information
Google Maps
“The old limits of what unmanaged and unpaid groups can do are no longer in operation; the difficulties that kept self-assembled groups from working together are shrinking, meaning that the number and kinds of things groups can get done without financial motivation or managerial oversight are growing.”
— Clay Shirky,
Here Comes Everybody
plane, train, bus, and drive
bike, walk, transit, and drive
rideshare, vanpool, corporate shuttles /
timetables, maps, and destination tables
TimeTable Publisher
open-source software to proof and create PDF and HTML timetables
The Transit App
trip planner, arrival estimates
Walk Score
Apartment Search
How far can you go using transit?
OpenTripPlanner Analyst Extension
detours, service alerts, exceptions, arrival estimates
App Centers
Maintain ongoing relationships
with developers
We’re small and we can’t provide every customized solution people ask for…. making the data available is something that we’re very familiar with so that developers can develop the tools themselves. It’s like having an army of developers available to us.
— Tim McHugh,
CTO of Portland's TriMet
Open data facilitates innovation
Over the long-term, open data reduces IT burdens on agencies, allows focus on core business
Open GTFS data offers particular utility for multimodal "supernetworks"
air + intercity bus or rail
bike + transit
bikeshare + transit
rideshare + transit
carshare + transit
specialized demand-response + fixed-route transit
transit + carshare / taxi
"The Many Uses of GTFS Data"
S. Barbeau, A. Antrim
compare and combine options:
email contact for open data
engage with open source software
The future of GTFS
Mendocino Transit Authority
crowdsourced real-time & overcrowding information
Google Maps for mobile
trip planner, arrival estimates + other Google Maps features
Evolution and growth
gtfs-changes list
GTFS producers and consumers (transit agencies and app developers) discuss potential changes
demonstrable, useful changes are adopted
some potential changes under discussion:
expansion of capabilities to describe fares: peak/off-peak, day of week, line-to-line transfers, etc.
station pathways
capability to describe hail-and-ride, flex-routes, and other demand-response services
This presentation:
Open source for real-time
Open-source real-time transit information application suite
route alignments
calendars & holidays
What is in GTFS?
Oregon + GTFS
44 transit public transit agencies provide GTFS data in Oregon; 33 through ODOT-sponsored project
GTFS started in Oregon in 2005
Oregon was the first state in the U.S. with comprehensive GTFS, maintained on a long-term basis
Statewide transit trip planning at
Directory of GTFS data at
CS OneClick
open source software for fixed-route transit, and demand response (
Transit Network Analysis Tool
Transit & Trails
Interactive system map
Sonoma County Transit:
Trip planner form integration
Prominent placement on agency homepage - "Trip plans one click away"
…with other applications not far away…
Knowledge base with "GTFS videos":
Proprietary application vs. open data approach
Full transcript