Sound Transit and Metro announced this week that they are making new real-time data feeds available to developers, covering vehicles from King County Metro, Sound Transit, Pierce Transit and Intercity Transit. While the eyes of the typical transit rider may glaze over at the mere mention of “real-time data feeds”, data like this powers applications, including OneBusAway and others, that are increasingly critical to navigating our transit systems.
Sound Transit has specifically made GTFS-realtime feeds, containing real-time vehicle position and delay information, available on their Developer Resources portal. GTFS-realtime is a common data format increasingly used by transit agencies across the nation and around the world to share real-time transit information with developers. Common formats are critical because they make it easier for developers to write a great tool once and bring it to multiple transit systems. The end result is better tools and more choices for transit riders.
In fact, someone might be working on that next killer app as we speak. Between events like last Saturday’s Seattle Open Data Day 2015 and the City of Seattle’s upcoming Hack The Commute event in March, there is a lot of energy around open transportation data in Seattle these days. While some of us may never be satisfied (as I whisper Link Light Rail real-time!), I commend Sound Transit for their efforts in making new data available to developers. Data is critical for riders and this is a huge step in the right direction.