Good data drives transit directions

Friday, March 28, 2008 at 2:48 PM



I'm happy to say that we've just added public transit directions for Perth, Australia, BiaƂystok, Poland, and New Jersey Transit to Google Maps. Australia and Poland now join eight other countries where Google offers trip planning and detailed transit schedules in select cities.

Transperth's Oren Vandersteen announced the Perth launch over at the Google Australia blog, and it was gratifying to hear how simple he found the process:
"To my surprise, I was able to produce a valid Transit Feed for testing that same day! The Google Transit Feed Specification that Google had defined was simple enough that I was able to easily translate our schedule information into the required data feed."
The Google Transit Feed Specification (or GTFS) is one of my projects at Google. It's a community-developed format for sharing the transit information that riders care about. GTFS grew out of our initial work with TriMet and the other early Google Transit partners, and it continues to be developed by a community of transit agency engineers and independent software developers.

The goal of this open format is to make it as easy as possible for transit agencies to publish up-to-date official schedules and route maps in a machine-readable form, so that sites like Google can inform people about the transit options in their area. Many people don't realize how convenient and cost-effective their local transit services can be, and tools like Google Maps transit directions can help people discover how transit could work for them.



The GTFS format is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license, which means that anyone is free to use or extend the format. In fact, an unprecedented number of agencies are now making their transit information—the exact same information that Google Maps uses—available to all developers in this form. I've already seen very creative things built using these public feeds, and I hope that they will continue to enable innovative new transit applications.

For our part, we're still working with lots more agencies to bring even more detailed transit information to you, and we've got several other exciting things up our sleeves for this year - so stay tuned!