In case anyone is interested, I’ve begun storing data from SORTA’s GTFS-realtime feed. I started the script today and I see no reason to stop it unless I start running out of space on my server. I’ve got GTFS trip_id’s, vehicle_id’s, locations and timestamps for every vehicle location update from here until infinity.
Let me know in the comments if you happen to be interested and I’ll find a way to share the data!
Still some problems of course, but check out the latest iteration of the real-time display app.
New in this version:
- Headsigns are trimmed and included. There is still some more cleaning to do though. Headsigns are quite inconsistent and I’m trying to just pull out prominent destinations.
- Heading arrows have been dimmed and placed behind the text headings. These only show up after all of the shapes have loaded. Clearly, there are some legibility issues right now, but I think the positioning is the way I like it and legibility can maybe be resolved with color changes.
- I’ve removed the randomly placed ‘vehicle locations’ that I’d been playing with. For now ;-)
Thoughts and comments much appreciated! If you follow the link above, you’ll be taken to a page where you can select stops. Pick one or a few and hit the button that says ‘use selected stops’. Then wait for something to go wrong and then tell me about it.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be spending part of this summer working with Daniel Schleith and Brad Thomas on a rather exciting project… Thanks to a grant from People’s Liberty, we’re going to have the opportunity to develop what I believe will be the first application to make use of SORTA’s recently released real-time data.
The goal of the project is to get real-time arrival displays into businesses along major transit lines. These will be privately owned and operated computer displays that ingest real-time data through the interwebs and display localized arrival predictions for nearby stops. We’ll be developing a display/app, and subsidizing the purchase of tablet computers which can then be mounted behind a bar, in a shop window, near the door of the coffee shop, etc.
I’m sure I’ll have lots more to say here on the topic in the near future, but for now, I leave you with hope only.
Yep. It’s finally here! :-D
Vehicle location feed:
Trip update feed:
The data is structured according to the GTFS real-time specification. I was able to parse it pretty easily in Python by following the instructions on that page. The fields currently included in the feed (many are optional in the specification) are as follows.
VehicleLocation feed sample data:
TripUpdate feed sample data:
The feeds update every 30 seconds, which seems a little slow, but oh well.
Right now, my understanding is that these feeds have been tentatively released as-is for developers only, and that SORTA is not ready yet to make a general public announcement that real-time data is available. Tim Harrington at SORTA, who shared the links with us, has politely asked to see the neat stuff that we’re able to develop with this data. I imagine that the sooner someone sends him a link to a decent, working app, the sooner they’ll give us the go-ahead and the sooner we’ll all be able to use this data in every-day situations.
So who’s gonna make an app? There must be a dozen open-source applications that are already designed to work with GTFS-realtime. We probably just need to plug this feed in and maybe make a few localization tweaks. If you or anyone you know has the skills and/or interest to make an app…then for the love of transit, let’s make this happen ASAP!
The release of SORTA’s real-time location data has been delayed again, this time until April 2014. Originally scheduled for sometime around this past December, the system upgrade that’s necessary for the public release of the data was apparently tied in with capital funding for the streetcar.
That funding was of course delayed by shenanigans.
A reader just passed this article my way and I can hardly do a better job of explaining why real-time arrival data is important for growing ridership on our transit system. This recent cold-punch-in-the-face weather has emphasized, for me at least, just how long waiting can seem to take when the bus is nowhere in sight. The release of this data should be a major priority for both agencies which already have the necessary systems installed on most if not all vehicles and just need to get the appropriate back-end systems in place to handle web requests.