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MBTA offers innovative access to schedule data

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The Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation said an historic step toward openness and transparency by releasing to the public the detailed scheduling and geographic data the MBTA submitted for use in the Google Transit Trip Planner. The initiative is part of the Patrick Administration's commitment to comprehensive transportation reform and creating a modern, efficient, and customer-friendly transportation system,  

The MBTA becomes 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 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, Ore., 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.

 

Secretary James A. Aloisi,
Jr. praised MBTA’s Operations and Service Development team and EOT partners for
making possible the scheduling data availability.

 

"Our priority is to
consistently improve customer service for the riders who rely on the T and RTAs
everyday to get to their job or their doctor’s appointment on time," said
Transportation Secretary Aloisi. "With the help of thoughtful technical
developers, making this data public will spawn many possible applications to
help transit users use their cell phones or laptops to find and use the right
bus or train in the right place at the right time for them."

 

The data will be located on
the EOT 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.

 

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, an 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.

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