Introducing Quality Issues

Transitland has issues. No, we’re not talking about bugs, missing features, or flaws (we hope!) but a whole new way of tracking, viewing, and even a little editing of the qualitative concerns we find in the transit data we receive. We call these “Quality Issues.”

Transit data is inherently tricky given all the spatial, temporal, and operational components that have to come together. Whether they are assembled and edited manually, or produced as the combined output of several different programs and processes, sometimes mistakes are made. Just to give a few examples, we’ve seen outdated and invalid URLs, stops that are too far from their routes, and trip shapes that don’t match the trip’s stop patterns or even go in the wrong direction.

Read more

Swiss transit journey planners can guide you to the top of any mountain

Follow my route on transit from Zurich to the top of Mount Rigi

by Steven Vance

Looking almost due west from Mount Rigi-Kulm

Looking west from Mount Rigi-Kulm and you can see the cloud layer that prevents you from seeing Lake Lucerne. The two cog railways are parked in the middle.

A month ago I hopped over to Germany to start a holiday trip over Christmas and the New Year. I flew into Frankfurt but I would be returning to Chicago from Zurich, Switzerland, almost three weeks later. I had spent two hours in Zurich in 2016 on a layover, and I was struck by the city’s beauty and their amazing public transport system. I made it a priority to revisit Zurich, to have a proper stay.

Before I left, I was already working to import the single GTFS transit feed for the whole country into Transitland, so I was aware of some of the transit systems. That work continues because the feed is massive; it has more than 400 operators and I need to add metadata about each of them.

I arrived the night before my mountain trip to a hotel – a 3 minute walk to the nearest entrance to Zurich’s hauptbahnhof (main station) – and I spent that whole evening planning an epic transit and mountain adventure the next day. (I stayed in because it’s also pretty expensive to go out in Zurich, so I was also saving my money for what turned out to be an expensive  epic trip.)

When in Switzerland, I figured, you should spend time outside on a mountain. And there’s no exception in the winter.

Steep journey up to Mount Rigi-Kulm from Vitznau looking over Lake Lucerne

It’s a cog railway up a Swiss mountain, of course it’s going to look steep like this.

I googled “nearest mountain to Zurich” and found Mount Rigi. I never validated if Mount Rigi is the nearest mountain, but after reviewing details on how to get to the base and how to get to the top (the mountain has its own website), I could tell it would be possible to go there and return in the same day.

Mount Rigi has multiple peaks, the tallest of which is Rigi Kulm at 1,798 meters, and you can plan a trip directly there with a single app.

You can use the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) smartphone app or website to plan a trip from anywhere in Switzerland to the cog railway station below the restaurant atop Rigi Kulm. Seriously.

Read more

Transitland now covers Санкт-Петербу́рг (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

St. Petersburg Tramway Russia 2013

Photo of a Russian-built tram in Saint Petersburg by Hans-Rudolf Stoll

We recently added the feed for surface transit in Saint Petersburg, Russia. ORGP is the transport organizer’s name in the Latin alphabet. ORGP website is a central source of information for the various municipally- and privately-operated ferry, bus, and tram routes.

St. Petersburg (SPb) also has trolley bus routes, which drive using electricity they collect from an overhead wire (you’ll see these most often in cities around the world with hills, because electric buses are more efficient climbing inclined streets). These buses can only deviate from their route where an intersection between wires is available. There are 1,066 routes in the SPb feed.

  • 5 ferry routes
  • 48 tram routes
  • 51 trolley bus routes
  • Remaining are bus routes using conventional buses.
Read more