4 Hip Transit Authorities With APIs

Adam DuVander, July 24th, 2009

TriMetKnow when that bus is coming? You could write an app to tell you, if you live within the service areas of these innovative transit authorities.

TriMet (Portland)
TriMet (our TriMet API profile) leads the way with open data. As a Portland resident, I may be biased, but don’t take my word for it. When Google wanted to provide transit-based directions, it turned to TriMet to set the example for what is now a standard format.

Transit apps for TriMet

Now TriMet has over 25 apps built by local developers. In addition to scheduling information, you can access real-time stop wait time data, which means more accurate apps.

BART (Bay Area)

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (our BART API profile) trains connect downtown San Francisco with many surrounding cities, including Oakland. The API provides XML feeds of station and train data, updated every minute.

Like TriMet, there are a number of example apps listed in the BART developer section.

CTA (Chicago)

This API is not an official from the Chicago Transit Authority (our CTA API profile). It is, however, data from the CTA. Harper Reed reverse engineered a CTA mashup.

The result is an programmer interface that shows the CTA what’s important. As Reed says: “The power is not the mashup. It’s the data.”

King County (Seattle)

Again, it’s not exactly official, but a research group at University of Washington has worked to give Seattle’s transit an API (our King County Buses API profile). In addition to schedules, developers can also access real-time location data of every bus, as showcased in their BusView applet.

BusView real-time bus location in Seattle

Should your transit authority be on this list? Let us know in the comments, or add its API.

Tags: Mapping
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5 Responses to “4 Hip Transit Authorities With APIs”

July 24th, 2009
at 5:37 am
Comment by: Petr Buben

I think you have forgotten a rather small http://yolobus.com, in Yolo County, California, where they also have real time bus position …..
Petr Buben

July 24th, 2009
at 1:21 pm
Comment by: Adam DuVander

Thanks Petr. That looks like a pretty cool app and it’s great to see a smaller transit company sharing real-time positions.

Do you know whether the underlying data is shared at all?

July 24th, 2009
at 2:10 pm
Comment by: Tim Showers

DC publishes its transit data (metro and bus) as a feed in the Google transit specification, which seems pretty awesome.


July 24th, 2009
at 2:38 pm
Comment by: Reid Beels

The LA Metro recently launched a pretty slick little API: http://developer.metro.net/

September 21st, 2009
at 1:22 am
Comment by: Why Aren’t There More Transit APIs?

[...] There is a list of only 34 public feeds on Google’s official transit feed site. That means the vast majority of transit agencies only see the benefit of letting the big guys use their data. That leaves out independent developers, unless their city is one of the 34 (or part of our list of 4 Hip Transit Authorities with APIs). [...]

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John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.