If the Queen of England used public transportation, she wouldn’t have far to walk from her Buckingham Palace home. And finding her nearest stop is now very easy since Transport of London has implemented a Google Maps mashup of bus routes.
When Google added transit directions to its Maps, it also created a format that allows any transit agency to be included. To date, over 400 have made their routes, schedules and fares available for the search giant using the GTFS feed format. As I lamented previously, very few of those feeds are available publicly. One developer decided to try and fix that and help transit agencies at the same time.
Google added a new layer to its own mapping application to show transit routes in the 400+ cities where it has data. The result is an easy way to see nearby bus and train stops on the web or on some mobile phones. Unfortunately, neither the data nor the imagery is available in the API version of Google Maps.
Google now has over 400 cities included in its transit service. That means each of those organization provides a feed so that the search giant can give accurate routing, schedules and fares. So, why isn’t it easier for the average developer to access this data?
Know 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.
Chicago commuters just got a new resource that may lead to more helpful mashups: the Chicago Transit Authority Bus Tracker API. As recently announced, the API provides capability for developers to get bus routes and schedules, bus stop and arrival predictions, and more. Note that the API is not affiliated with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA); rather, it was developed and is maintained by Harper Reed, who says the CTA has been “amazingly cool with all of this.” In announcing the API, Harper wrote: