Better Faster Cheaper - How Outside Developers Can Help Transit Agencies Inform Their Riders

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Information about Better Faster Cheaper - How Outside Developers Can Help Transit Agencies...

Published on May 25, 2008

Author: headway



Talk by Joe Hughes from the first TransitCampBayArea event about public transit schedule data and how transit agencies can benefit by allowing outside developers to create third-party transit sites.

better faster cheaper Joe Hughes Google

Goal: Communicate better with riders

Goal: Better internal information

Problem: Agencies are strapped for cash and developers

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC quot;-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//ENquot; quot;;> <html xmlns=quot;; xmlns:v=quot;urn:schemas- microsoft-com:vmlquot;> <head> <script src=quot; file=api&amp;v=2&amp;key=ABQIAAAAzr2EBOXUKnm_jVnk0OJI7xSosDVG8KKPE1- m51RBrvYughuyMxQ-i1QfUnH94QxWIa6N4U6MouMmBAquot; type=quot;text/javascriptquot;></script> <script type=quot;text/javascriptquot;> function initialize() { if (GBrowserIsCompatible()) { var stop = new GLatLng(33.88508,-117.84383); var map = new GMap2(document.getElementById(quot;map_canvasquot;)); map.setCenter(stop, 19); map.setMapType(G_SATELLITE_MAP); map.addOverlay(new GMarker(stop)); map.openInfoWindow(stop, document.createTextNode( quot;NB LINDA VISTA/ROSE FS PLAC Stop ID: 5731quot;)); } } </script> </head> <body onload=quot;initialize()quot; onunload=quot;GUnload()quot;> <div id=quot;map_canvasquot; style=quot;width: 800px; height: 600pxquot;></div> </body> </html>,-117.84383+(NB +LINDA+VISTA%2FROSE+FS+PLAC+Stop+ID:+5731)&t=k&z=19

Most of this data is scraped or hand-entered

There’s got to be a better way.

the agency the public

Of course, the truth is in bet ween. Within every bureaucracy, there are people working to make things better. The truth is somewhere in between.

A digression

In 2005, we launched Google Transit, a fast trip planner that made it easy to flip through different results for a given transit trip.

Last year, public transit became a first-class citizen in Maps. This means that it’s easy to discover whether public transit makes sense for your trip...

How does Google get this data? How can we collect this data, for the whole world?

...and make it easier for the next developer?

So we started from something that worked (Portland TriMet data dump), and created the Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS)

It’s CSV; easy to understand, and maps well to the DB table- oriented workflow that agency IT staff are familiar with

It’s an open format, and its further development is decided by the community of users.

The agencies prepare these feed and put them on their server for Google to retrieve... but they’re also usable by other developers if the agency is willing Agency Your transit project?

Devin’s hack is able to use other agency GTFS

Think of outside developers as a highly motivated R&D lab

Be willing to adopt successful projects

The ideal outcome: Agencies get new tools Developers get support and recognition

Google Maps API learn how to make a mashup Headway Wiki get inspired by what others have done Google Transit group talk to like-minded folks GTFS format learn how to publish your schedules for reuse Contact me get in touch!

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