We reported last week that the innovated Walk Score website had added support for valuing transit access, but didn’t mention that this feature wasn’t available here in Seattle. Why’s that? King County Metro hadn’t provided open access to it’s transit data and instead required each project to be approved on a case-by-case basis.
That’s slowly changing. Metro has began releasing its GTFS (Google Transit Feed Specification) data to developers who sign a disclaimer without individual project approval. Eventually, access to this data should be even easier.
“The goal is a click through agreement that permits the development community direct access to our data,” said Stephen Krippner, a program manager in Metro’s IT department. “We obviously are not there yet, but we are headed that direction.”
Metro has been doing some sweeping efforts to improve its relations with third-party developers, including hosting a workshop last month. Other agencies in the region could stand to learn from Metro’s efforts. Metro itself could stand to learn from Portland’s Tri-Met which requires neither a disclaimer nor a click-through agreement to access its developer resources transparently.
The GTFS data is the same information that powers the Google Maps transit functionality and third-party apps like One Bus Away. Developers interested in accessing the GTFS data should contact Stephen Krippner at firstname.lastname@example.org.