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Understanding and Traversing the Statewide Transit Network: GTFS Data in Oregon

Aaron Antrim

Aaron Antrim

on 10 January 2017

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Transcript of Understanding and Traversing the Statewide Transit Network: GTFS Data in Oregon

Understanding Oregon's
Transit Network with GTFS

Opening the Door to Multi-modal Applications for Passengers, Planners, and Managers
21st National Conference on Rural Public & Intercity Bus Transportation
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
Hundreds of 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
Accessibility / contexts
People with disabilities
Planning / analysis
Real-time information
Google Maps
plane, train, bus, and drive
bike, walk, transit, and drive
timetables, maps, and destination tables
TimeTable Publisher
open-source software to proof and create PDF and HTML timetables
Walk Score
Apartment Search
OpenTripPlanner Analyst Extension
detours, service alerts, exceptions, arrival estimates
App Centers
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:
The future of GTFS
Mendocino Transit Authority
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:
route alignments
calendars & holidays
What is in GTFS?
Oregon + GTFS
Statewide transit trip planning at maps.google.com
Directory of GTFS data at www.oregon-gtfs.com
CS OneClick
open source software for fixed-route transit, and demand response (github.com/camsys/oneclick)
Transit Network Analysis Tool:
Towards understanding of the statewide transit network.
Measurement of transit access using census and other datasets.
Transit & Trails
Interactive system map
TriMet: maps.trimet.org
Sonoma County Transit:
Trip planner form integration
Prominent placement on agency homepage - "Trip plans one click away"
example: cherriots.org
…with other applications not far away…
Proprietary application vs. open data approach
OpenTripPlanner (Android)
real-time trip planner, bikeshare
People already know how to use online maps and directions.
Regular schedules can be hard-to-use.
The third most common internet activity for Americans is to “search for a map or driving directions,” (87%) behind only email and using search engines.
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project – tracking survey (2008)
Result of Florida study
Almost half of participants were unable to correctly identify bus times using the tabular schedules.
Design Elements of Effective Transit Information Materials,
National Center for Transit Research
at the University of South Florida
First, why?
open-source - apps for arrival estimates/service alerts, tools
Transit Mix
TAP by Transit Labs
performance and financial management
Who participates?
44 transit public transit agencies
provide GTFS data in Oregon.
33 of those through the ODOT-sponsored project.

State (ODOT)
sets up relationships and expectations

maintains data using GTFS Manager software under long-term contract to ODOT. We provide support to individual transit agencies — requesting schedule changes, answering questions on 3rd party applications (such as Google).

Oregon State University
researchers are building the Transit Network Analysis tool.

3rd party applications
(such as Google Maps) provide information to customers. ODOT signs necessary Content License Agreements.
What applications?
1.) Making sure the GTFS datasets are up-to-date, and describe current service
2.) Maintaining interest and involvement on the part of transit agencies in the statewide project
1.) Provide value for transit agencies (through trip planning). Maintain dedication for long-term education and training.
2.) Simultaneously achieve state and local goals
Standards-centric, rather than application-centric, architecture helps to integrate systems
Application-centric architecture
Standards-centric architecture
1. Use common standards
2. Produce high-quality data
3. Make datasets public — be where your customers are
4. Engage with applications, standards-communities
For long-term value:
Full transcript