Management & Operations

MBTA launches new developer platform

Posted on May 30, 2013

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is launching MBTA-realtime, its new developer platform, on June 4. Service alerts will be available over an API and in GTFS-realtime, with real-time information to follow later this year.

After first releasing its schedule data in the industry-standard GTFS format to developers in 2009, the MBTA jumped to the forefront of sharing real-time transit data by making live location and prediction data for all 1,000 buses available to developers in 2010. It has since then made subway and commuter rail real-time data available; instead of offering predictions on its own website the “T” has a page highlighting over 50 third-party apps.

But, the fast-moving projects have left the data in a variety of mismatched formats, identifiers that only sporadically correspond to its own GTFS data and no integration with service alerts. That lack of integration meant that an application might tell a customer that a train would be at his station in five minutes, but have no good way to know that the station had just been temporarily closed.

MBTA-realtime is built from the ground up to integrate real-time information and alerts and to build them both around a core of GTFS data. For example, when dispatchers enters an alert that a bus route is on detour, they select not just the route from a list but each stop bypassed from a list of all stops served; if a commuter rail trip is delayed they can select the trip from a list of trips. Not only does this make alerts more detailed, but because the options chosen are shared with developers and are based on the same GTFS core they may be using, it opens up new opportunities in filtering, displaying and using the information.

The information is available through a straightforward new API which is ideal for mobile apps or websites that retrieve data as-needed, as well as in GTFS-realtime, the new Protocol Buffer extension to GTFS that lets applications get all available information in a very small package. Finally, an updated RSS feed of alerts remains available for those who just want a straightforward way to display them.

The MBTA plans to integrate real-time information for subway and commuter rail into the same system later this year. No decision has been made regarding whether to add real-time bus data in the future. The rollout coincides with a refreshed service alert Webpage on its website and a shift to a new provider, GovDelivery, for its “T-Alerts” alert notification service. T-Alerts has more than 50,000 email and SMS subscribers.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

HDR's Schneider Honored by APTA

Michael Schneider was named Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member for 2016.

Calif. agency to launch pilot with Uber, Lyft and taxicab companies

If the program saves money and provides a better level of service than currently provided by the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, it could be extended to other Bay Area suburbs.

APTA: Public transportation users save $9,634 annually

The savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle, which includes the average national gas price of $2.13 per gallon and the national unreserved monthly parking rate numbers.

Uber partners with Volvo to develop autonomous cars

The base vehicles will be manufactured by Volvo Cars and then purchased from Volvo by Uber. The companies are contributing  a combined $300 million to the project.

Ford unveils plans for driverless car fleet by 2021

The SAE-rated level 4-capable vehicle will not have a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals. It is being specifically designed for commercial mobility services, such as ride sharing and ride hailing, and will be available in high volumes.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close