Overcoming Barriers for the Wide-scale Adoption of Standardized Real-time Transit Information

Real-time transit information has been shown to have many benefits to transit riders and transit agencies. Accessibility of schedule (non-realtime) transit information to transit riders has historically been driven by the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS). In the last few years, a real-time counterpart to GTFS, GTFS-realtime, has begun to emerge, with several agencies sharing their real-time data in this format. GTFS-realtime holds the potential to standardize real-time data formats and lead to wide-spread adoption for transit agencies and their riders much in the same way that GTFS was immensely successful for schedule data. However, while the GTFS format has an open-source GTFS Feed Validator, no such open-source tool currently exists for GTFS-realtime. This lack of guidance and tools from the GTFS-realtime community significantly increases the amount of time and effort necessary to create a new GTFS-realtime feed at an agency, thus hampering the rapid adoption of GTFS-realtime as a de facto real-time standard. It can also result in bad arrival time data being shared with the public, which has been shown to have a negative affect on ridership. This project proposes to work with the GTFS and GTFS-realtime community to implement a GTFS-realtime validation tool that can provide a report on what aspects of a GTFS-realtime feed are working well, what aspects are not functioning according to GTFS-realtime best practices, and which aspects are in violation of the specification. This tool will provide agencies with the information they need during acceptance testing to quickly assess if a vendor has fully delivered a quality product, and it will enable Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) vendors to produce better quality products by uncovering problems earlier in the software development process. Additionally, it will help ensure that good quality data is shared with the public. As part of this project, the project team will work with the GTFS-realtime community to better define “best practices” for GTFS-realtime implementations, as well as better define what constitutes “bad data” that should not be produced by a feed.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $ $329,311
  • Contract Numbers:

    NITC 1062

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Portland State University

    P.O. Box 751
    Portland, OR  United States  97207-0751

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    TREC at Portland State University

    1900 SW Fourth Ave, Suite 175
    P.O. Box 751
    Portland, Oregon  United States  97201
  • Project Managers:

    Hagedorn, Hau

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of South Florida, Tampa

    3650 Spectrum Boulevard, Suite 160
    Tampa, FL  United States  33612
  • Principal Investigators:

    Barbeau, Sean

  • Start Date: 20160801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180331
  • Actual Completion Date: 20180331
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: N/A

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01607648
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Institute for Transportation and Communities
  • Contract Numbers: NITC 1062
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 15 2016 6:30PM