Metro developer beta
LA Metro has created something very impressive. The beta version of the Metro developers site just launched.
They offer Google Transit Feed Data, and REST+JSON and XML interfaces for Los Angeles area agencies, stop location data, and schedule information. The site also has GIS shapefiles available for download.
Beyond making data available the site also provides some support resources to help developers do something with it. There is a terminology guide. The site also is a platform for 3rd party developers and LA Metro developers to interact. Most pages have a “comment” option for logged in users, and there is a developer blog.
“Beta” is a uncomfortable concept for some transit agencies; the idea of releasing something that is new and maybe even unfinished is an unfamiliar approach. But Metro appears to have recognized the benefit of the public beta approach — real-world use testing and feedback. By all appearances, this beta site is set up to anticipate and work with change. That makes sense because transit evolves and technology moves quickly. I’m looking forward to seeing the progress.
2 thoughts on “Metro developer beta”
Okay, cool, awesome. However, if they have the GTFS data, why exactly isn’t it available via the public Google Maps interface? I mean, I happen to know how to import that data into a local server and make a real pretty trip planner out of it- but I doubt most riders do.
My understanding is that the GTFS only just became available, but that’s from an outsider perspective. It could have been available for some time. In any case, producing and making GTFS data available is only a first step to Google Transit launch. These are the steps:
(1) Publish GTFS
(2) Validate GTFS – is the data correct?
(3) Google creates a private “preview”
(4) The agency and/or consultants and stakeholders check the preview to make sure the trip planner works as expected
(5) Agency has to sign an agreement with Google
So, this all takes some time. Since L.A. County GTFS is available I anticipate Google Transit will go live at some point in the future. It is, however, interesting to note that Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority published GTFS in late March. But we haven’t seen them show up here yet. Here’s why.