One of the things that has saved me in my short stint here at Seattle is the fantastic Google Transit service. I don’t have a car, and navigating the bus schedule tables and maps in the unintuitive local transit website is a constant source of frustration.

Now, Google Transit is already available for plenty of cities around the world, including, in Canada, Vancouver, Fredericton, Ottawa, and Montreal. No Toronto, though. According to Oshoma Momoh, the Toronto Transit Commission does not share its raw transit data with the public. Getting the data means manually scrubbing and debugging the plainly awful TTC web pages, which means lots of non-automated hard work, which in turn means Google is staying out of this for now.

Enter, an independent website created by Kieran Huggins and Kevin Branigan that was “born out of a desire for free, open access to transit data”. They’ve been doing the hard work, and now they have made their site public and are asking for feedback.

They already have great results to show. They have a good Trip Planner available, which works much better than the TTC’s decontextualized route maps and schedule tables. They’re making their data public and free. But what’s even better is their complete openness and encouragement to have a community built around this purpose:

We are not the TTC, nor are we affiliated, endorsed, or otherwise associated with them. This is a community effort to make using the TTC a better experience for everyone. We hope you’ll join us!

Think you can do better?

Awesome! You should check out our developer API. Or, should you want, we’ll give you either a GTFS or SQL dump of our data. Go. Play. Innovate. Mash up. Make transit better!

I haven’t met Kieran or Kevin yet, but I’d love to. A big thank you to both; I’m looking forward to see where this will go.

About Jorge Aranda

I'm currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the SEGAL and CHISEL labs in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Victoria.
This entry was posted in Software development, torcamp, Toronto. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to

  1. Pingback: The Third Bit » Blog Archive » Link Soup

  2. Ed Kirwan says:

    Hi, Jorge,

    This is entirely off-topic, I’m afraid.

    I noticed you had a nice graphic of intra- and inter-module complexity here:

    Click to access lect06-3.pdf

    This bears some resemblance to a similar graph I derived using different means, and if you’re deeply bored during any five minutes in the near future, you can see the derivation in the paper here:

    As I said, entirely off-topic.



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