August 20, 2009

MBTA makes schedule, geographic data public

The Massachussetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) released to the public the detailed scheduling and geographic data submitted for use in the Google Transit Trip Planner. 

The agency became the third-largest transit agency in the U.S. to make this data public in a format that is converted into the industry-standard Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) using existing scheduling software. 

The data includes full schedules and geographic information for all MBTA bus, rail, and ferry routes, along with several regional transit authorities.  Similar efforts in other areas, such as Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Portland, have allowed third-party developers to create useful applications and scheduling tools for riders at no cost to the city, agency, or state, vastly improving customer service.

The data will be located on the EOT (Executive Office of Transportation) Developers’ Page (www.mass.gov/eot/developers), which is the one-stop place to open up to the public useful transportation data across the state. The page will now include nine sets of GTFS data from transit authorities, making Massachusetts a global leader in embracing this open standard for transit data.

Information on the page includes GTFS data for the MBTA, Berkshire Regional Transit Authority, Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, Lexpress, Lowell Regional Transit Authority, Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority, Metrowest Regional Transit Authority, Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, Vineyard Transit and ferry services.

Already, a well-known application called UniBus is utilizing this data for all agencies, creating an easy-to-use statewide transit scheduler for the iPhone.

Other developers have expressed interest in the data and expect to release applications in the coming months. EOT has reached out to these developers, holding a developers’ meeting and engaging the community through Twitter and Google Groups, and hopes to expand its data and incorporate more information in real-time.

The EOT Developers’ Page can be viewed at:
www.mass.gov/eot/developers

For the latest information about Massachusetts transportation, visit our blog at
www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow us on twitter at http://twitter.com/mass_trans.

Connect with the EOT Developers on Twitter at:
http://www.twitter.com/MassDOTdev

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