Category Archives: GTFS

Articles about the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), formerly known as the Google Transit Feed Specification.

WordPress Journey Planner

We’ve made it easy for you to add a journey planner to your WordPress site.

Here’s the Three steps.
1) Go to the WordPress page/post where you want to add the journey planner
2) Click on “Text”
3) Copy and Paste the following code where you want the journey planner to appear

<object data=”https://addtransit.com/journey-planner.php” width=”300″ height=”520″></object>

You’ll then get a Journey Planner added to the page, just like the one below.

Have a great day.

GTFS Tools – GTFS Builder, GTFS Editor and GTFS-Realtime

Getting your bus, train, ferry and public transport onto maps and apps requires GTFS Tools.  AddTransit has a set of GTFS tools that allows you start simply and then build up to more complex realtime updates.

GTFS Tools

Our GTFS tools include:

  • GTFS Builder / GTFS Editor
  • GTFS-Realtime Status updates
  • GTFS-Realtime Vehicle Tracking

Let’s discuss each of these in turn…..

GTFS Builder / GTFS Editor

GTFS Editor, GTFS Builder & other GTFS Tools

Our GTFS builder / GTFS editor allows you to create the initial GTFS file.   We step you through your agency details, the scheduled days that you operate, the routes, individual trips and stops information.  This allows you to easily build your GTFS file.  If you have existing data in stored in files (e.g. CSV, MS Excel), we even be able to upload the data for you and greatly speed up the creation of the GTFS file.  Once all the necessary information has been entered, then you can create your first GTFS file.  We can host the GTFS file for you, or you can host it on your own servers.  When your stops, routes or schedules change, you can easily log into our secure online website and use the GTFS Builder / GTFS editor to update your data.  When you are ready you can also add information about transfers, wheelchair and bike capacities, fares and route maps.

GTFS-Realtime Status Updates

GTFS-Realtime status updates

When delays affect a planned service, GTFS-Realtime status updates allow you to keep your passengers informed. You can provide customer information on what is causing the delay and what the effect will be on passenger’s travel.  The level of detail you provide is up to you. You can even provide a URL to pages on your company’s website to give even more detail.  AddTransit for GTFS-Realtime status updates can be provided to all online map, apps and journey planning providers.  This allows your passengers to choose their preferred devices and software providers.  Allowing your status updates to be displayed on many different online maps, apps and journey planners will result in the maximum number of customers being informed.

GTFS-Realtime Vehicle Tracking

GTFS-Realtime Vehicle Tracking

GTFS-Realtime Vehicle Tracking solves the problem of customers not knowing when their bus, train or ferry is about to arrive.  Using a free App on a GPS enabled smartphone with secure AddTransit login details, you can upgrade your AddTransit account to include GTFS-Realtime Vehicle Tracking.  Initially, your staff can monitor your vehicles on the AddTransit website. When you are ready, you can also provide vehicle positions in a GTFS -Realtime file for all online map, apps and journey planning providers to use.

Related Posts:

https://addtransit.com/blog/tag/gtfs-editor/

Create GTFS Data Feeds with our GTFS Tool

Getting your company’s data appearing on Google Maps, Bing Maps,  Transit Apps and other transport software is mandatory these days.  Your passengers and customers expect to be informed all the time and when you don’t meet their expectations they become disgruntled, interact negatively with your front-line staff and drag down the reputation of your company.

But for many companies getting onto such sites is a technological challenge that is beyond them or a cost that is not factored into the budgets.  AddTransit aims to make it easy and affordable to get your transport business appearing online.

So how do you do it?

Create GTFS Data Feeds - GTFS Tool

You need to create a GTFS Data Feed and the easiest way to create a GTFS data feed is with a GTFS Tool.

GTFS Data Feed

A GTFS Data Feed is a special computer file that contains data about your route, schedule and stops/stations. GTFS is an acronym for General Transit Feed Specification.  This specification was originally developed in partnership between a public transport operator and Google.  Since then the specification has become the defacto standard for all the major internet companies (e.g. Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and also for all the smartphone, mobile and cell phone public transport and transit Apps.

The GTFS Data Feed allows you provide your transit data in single feed to all these companies; a single update that becomes accessible to all your passengers, everywhere, all the time.

GTFS Tool

When you want to create GTFS data feeds, the easiest way is using a GTFS Tool.  The GTFS tool ensures that the data is in the correct format and enforces consistencies and GTFS validations.  The tool should provide an intuitive user interface, the ability to verify geographic data on maps and where possible, prevent user errors.

The GTFS tool should allow you to easily export your first schedule and make changes to your schedule, route or stops a simple maintenance function.  We also recommend an online tool, so that if the standard changes, you will automatically get the updated software.

What Next?

Well, if you’d like to get your schedule, routes, stops onto Maps.  If you’d like to make it easier for your passengers and customers to access your timetables and plan their journeys.  Or if you’d like passengers to self serve and reduce questions and queries to front line staff, then we recommend you Join AddTransit and get started.

Have a great day!

 

Christmas and the New Year are only a few weeks away!

Do you have your holiday schedules out yet?  Are your schedules online? And we don’t mean in a PDF file that your customers have to go digging through your website to find.  You want your customers to be able to easily find your schedule on Google Maps or on their travel planning app from their phone, and you need to be able to quickly update them if bad weather causes changes.

 

“We’ve had our schedule just on our website for years.  Why bother with online maps and travel apps?”

 

Transit riders expect you to be on time, every time, and they expect your route to be consistent.  But you know that sometimes changes must be made.  Your holiday schedule may have planned changes like coordinating around the Christmas parade, or sudden changes because of bad weather or a car accident blocking the road.  Your customers will understand these hiccups if they know in advance, but not if you leave them stranded in the snow.  Getting your schedules to your customers with a simple tap on an app, will allow them to plan ahead for changes.

Santa gets his Christmas Schedules Online

Also, if you customers can find your schedule on Google, they won’t need to call your office to ask about the schedule or to complain that they can’t find it on your website.  This means less money spent on employees to answer customer calls, and most importantly, you’ll have happier customers who will want to use your service over and over.

 

“But we’re a small company and we can’t afford to hire an IT team to make that happen!”

 

You CAN afford to make it happen, and you don’t need to hire an IT team.  AddTransit can put your schedules and routes in GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) which enables Google, Yahoo, and App Providers to easily include your data in their maps and travel planning programs.  You can be competitive with the major transit companies for a fraction of the cost.

 

Contact us now to get your schedule on travel planning apps before Christmas!

Google Maps – Bus Directions, Bus Routes and Bus Schedules

One of the great things about the advent of Google Maps is the ability to get not only only driving directions but also public transport directions.

Google Maps - Bus Directions, Routes &Schedules

Google uses GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) files from the bus companies to display bus routes, bus schedules and calculate bus directions.

A passenger just needs to enter their start location and their final destination into Google Maps and choose the public transport icon.  Google then shows the passenger the public transport options.  The bus route is shown on a map and alternate travel routes (if available).  Further drill down options exist to allow the passenger to see the schedule,  alternate trip times, basic fare information and transfer details.

The ubiquitous 24×7 nature of Google maps bus directions, means that wherever there is access to the Internet (e.g. PC, tablet or smartphone, etc.) a passenger can plan their journey.  No more out of date paper time tables and complex journey planning!

Additionally, if your journey destination changes midway you can recalculate an alternate route in moments and get there faster.

Have a great day!

GTFS Editor, GTFS Validation Tool and GTFS Viewer

There’s a number of challenges with the GTFS format.  One is the complexity in it’s simplicity.

Let me explain…..

The GTFS format uses a relatively old way of storing data.  The method is CSV.   Here’s what Wikipedia says:

A comma-separated values (CSV) file stores tabular data (numbers and text) in plain text. Each line of the file is a data record. Each record consists of one or more fields, separated by commas. The use of the comma as a field separator is the source of the name for this file format.  Comma-separated values is a data format that pre-dates personal computers by more than a decade: the IBM Fortran (level G) compiler under OS/360 supported them in 1967.

There’s a CSV file for each type of data (e.g. trips, routes, schedules, etc.) and these files are all zipped (a type of compression) to create a GTFS file.

The simplicity means that a GTFS file could be created with the use of the most basic editor and a program such as Winzip.

However the complexity comes, when you realise that each of the files have to reference each other.  MS Excel tools (GTFS xls tool) have been coded but they are limited in their functionality and lack in inherent strength that GTFS brings with online maps.

GTFS Validation, GTFS Editor and GTFS Tool. Get schedules on Maps

That’s why we created AddTransit.  Our software includes a GTFS builder, GTFS validation tool and a GTFS editor with maps to view the locations and routes.  Our software removes the need for you to worry about files, zipping and cross referencing between files.  We provide warnings if there is gaps with the aim of making your job easier.

This allows you to focus on your schedules and routes, and let’s you leave the intricacies of GTFS to us.  Here’s the AddTransit GTFS Tools signup link if you want to Get Started.

Have a great day.

 

Cheap GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification)

For many companies creating and maintaining a GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) feed can be seen as a costly exercise.  Existing processes are focussed on paper based schedules, booklets and posters and more recently on bespoke solutions for the companies website in text, PDF, graphical or even interactive formats.

The provision of a GTFS feed is seen as a new expense and it could be associated with expensive software solutions and consultants.

But, that doesn’t need to be the case.

A GTFS solution actually allows you to reduce effort and whilst getting greater coverage of potential customers.  Google’s, Apple’s and Yahoo’s maps software is now in daily use and most passengers are moving to smartphones which have a growing number of transit apps.  All these services can provide your schedules from your GTFS file.  Additionally you can include standard code on your websites that will provide interactive schedules and maps, that also use your GTFS file.

As your schedule becomes available in many more ways using the same GTFS file and common software, your paper based schedules can be reduced and your schedule software development costs reduced.

At AddTransit, we recognised the need for cheap GTFS so we make it easy to create, distribute and maintain the file.  Our focus is on providing value for money regardless of whether you are a single shuttle bus, a fleet of ferries or a large public transport system.

We want to make your GTFS experience great (and cheap), so contact us today to find out more.

Have a great day.

Google Maps Bus Routes

Getting your bus route to appear on Google Maps is easy with AddTransit.  Our easy to use GTFS builder allows you to create and edit a GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) file.  A GTFS file contains the necessary information to inform Google of your stops, schedule, routes and fares.

Google Maps Bus Routes

You then notify Google that you now have a GTFS file for them to use, and subject to you meeting Google’s criteria, the file successfully passing Google’s validation and verifying that you will maintain the file going forward, Google will give you access to their Transit Dashboard.

Google also automatically uploads changes on a regular basis to ensure that their online schedules stay up to date.

Once the Google has processed your file, your customers/passengers will be able to view your bus schedules on the web in Google maps.

And the best thing is, is that the GTFS file is used not only by Google but also by lots of other companies.  This means that by creating one file you suddenly are able to make your schedule available in many different ways to your customers.

Have a good day.

General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS Spec)

Creating a General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS Spec) file can be done a number of ways. If it is a small company with only one or two routes with only a few trips a month, then you can use a simple editor.  You can limit the file to just the route, stop, and timetable information.

If it is a little more complex, then you can use a product like excel or an excel tool to create the file.  This helps, but very quickly can be challenging as you need to ensure all the relevant files that get zipped up to make a GTFS file are all aligned.  e.g. You need to make sure there are no typos and consistency is key.

Of course with these first two methods you will need to learn the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS Spec) in detail.  For most people who are small, this is definitely not their core business.  Your real business is ensuring passengers get from A to B, comfortable and efficiently with good financial outcomes, and anything that takes you away from  this function is a needless distraction.

The next solution is a GTFS Editor such as AddTransit.  These take away the complexity of the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS Spec), leave you to enter the data that matters to you and are low cost.  e.g. Your stops, your routes, your timetable.  Additionally, it makes consistency and updates easier, reduces the time to create and maintain the GTFS file, and offers the fare, transfer and detail information for when your ready.  And if you want to take your business to the next level, you could add on real time status updates and vehicle tracking.

Of course, if you have budgets in the hundreds of thousands, there are also the premium products which offer good solutions but at many times the price.

Obviously, we are a little biased here at AddTransit, as we think an online GTFS Editor is the best solution for most companies and that’s why we work hard each day to make it easier for you.

Have a good weekend

AddTransit: The GTFS tool to create GTFS feeds

When we designed AddTransit, we wanted the easiest possible tool to create GTFS feeds.

After our initial reading of the General Transit Feed Specification, it became obvious that the GTFS standard was a simple solution that got complex very quickly.  Additionally, for big transport companies with their large IT departments, the standard seemed cumbersome as it used zipped comma delimited text files for documenting the schedule and route information, whereas for small companies even these simple technicalities were often too large a learning curve for them to climb.

Our vision, at AddTransit, was to build a simple GTFS tool that could make the GTFS format and it’s promise of easily communicating timetables and offering journey planning in multiple ways both affordable and simple.  We took the specification and broke it down into it’s key components,  designed screens that we believe are inherently intuitive and looked for opportunities for improvement in terminology and data entry.

We realise that creating and maintaining schedules is a challenging task by itself, even before you get around producing and updating GTFS  files.  That’s why we try to give you simple and straightforward solution to the complexities of GTFS.

Of course, the technical nature of the GTFS spec is still behind it all, but we hope that our great user interface, responsive customer service and affordable product will make your job of communicating and marketing a bus, train, ferry or shuttle schedules, so much easier.

Have a great day!