Join us as we catalog the public transit feeds of the world

Transitland is an open project sponsored by Mapzen to aggregate transit data from around the world and make it seamless to use together. Back in November, we released the Transitland Feed Registry, which helps answer two questions:

This experiment started out in San Francisco and New York, where most Mapzen staff live, but now we’re ready to open the Feed Registry to outside contributors. Know a feed from your part of the world or your favorite transit agency that’s missing? Now you can add it to Transitland yourself!

an animation of screenshots showing how to add the GTFS feed for Portland TriMet to Transitland

Transitland catalogs and imports the most popular variety of transit feeds, the General Transit Feed Specification format. GTFS, as it’s abbreviated, is the format ingested by Google Maps, Microsoft Bing Maps, Apple Maps, and many other journey-planning services and analysis engines. Many transit operators provide GTFS feeds on their websites, and civic technologists from Detroit to Nairobi have created and shared them as well. But these feed files are all floating around the web as individual files. The goal of Transitland is to become a center of gravity that is fully open in its software licensing, its data licensing, and its direction by a growing group of participants.

Want to help aggregate all those lonely feeds? Find a GTFS feed that’s publicly available, come back to the Feed Registry and click “add a feed.” Once a feed is added and imported, it will be listed on the Transitland Feed Registry, available to visualize using the Transitland Playground data explorer, and open to querying using the Datastore API.

Transitland is a big tent. We want to welcome software developers who are enthusiastic about data and public servants who do the hard work of keeping transit networks running.

Data Enthusiasts and Civic Technologists, we hope you’ll find the Feed Registry “add a feed” experience addictive enough that you’ll want to come back again to add a second, and a third, and a fourth, that will be useful to consume in your apps, visualizations, and analyses. The catalog of feeds and operators that you’ll be helping to build is in the public domain, so it will be available for you to use in whatever service you can imagine. To kick this contribution process off, Mapzen staff will be reviewing the first set of submissions that come in. As we work out the kinks, we’d appreciate involvement from others in the curation of Feed Registry submissions.

Transit Professionals, we hope you’ll find the Feed Registry “add a feed” experience worth your time. It’s a simple and quick way to spread your agency’s existing GTFS feed out to an even wider audience—no technical changes are required if you host your GTFS feed at a stable URL on your public website. Nor does adding a feed to the Feed Registry trigger any changes to the license or legal terms that your agency has already attached to it. If you indicate how the license works, the Feed Registry will list what users are allowed to do with your agency’s feed. We welcome any questions and are glad to support agencies with technical or legal questions. Please write us at hello@transit.land

Transitland is now open for your contributions.