For years, we have heard complaints from web developers looking to build transit apps in the Phoenix area. For years, the response from Metro and/or the City of Phoenix ( not sure where Mesa and Tempe stood ) seemed to sound something like blah blah NO, blah blah security issues, blah blah NO.
Without a doubt, riders want good ways to know where the trains and busses are; they want Walk Score data; they want to be transit geeks. The current NextRide texting system doesn’t seem to have impressed many people nor does it scream high-tech to it’s users.
NextRide was introduced about a year ago and we read that “Valley Metro says it will consider sharing its databases with application developers after seeing how well NextRide works.” I’m not sure if releasing the data was contingent upon it working well or working poorly, but apparently the road has been cleared.
Valley METRO now has a developer resources page on their web site and a list of transit definitions to use when applying to develop apps.
I’m not sure how long this has been in place, but I want to thank Derek Neighbors for bringing it to my attention via Twitter. Who knows, maybe we can get him to write a follow up post to give us his thoughts on transit data. 🙂
Maybe I can even get one of you geeks to make a decent RailLife app someday. 🙂
Mike Mueller says
If they allow the developers access to real time data – someone could be able to create an app that uses it to show you when the next train is coming, overlay that on a map, and so much more!
One of the issues is the real time data. There’s terrorist and safety concerns in providing that data flow. Airlines or sites like http://www.flightstats.com/ have to buffer the data of flights and give them a slight delay (I think it’s something like 5 min).
Nick Bastian says
Yeah, some cool things could be done, for sure. The safety of the public certainly trumps the “cool” factor. Hopefully, we can have our cake and eat it, too. 🙂
The data still isn’t listed at http://www.gtfs-data-exchange.com/agencies so it’s not truly open. And WalkScore still doesn’t show public transit data, and reports that “0 of 9 nearby transit agencies provide open data” in Phoenix. So there’s still some work to do.
Nick Bastian says
Thanks for the update, Derek!
Mike Mathieu says
Walk Score will pick up new feeds from gtfs-data-exchange.com automatically after a day or two. Looking forward to PHX going live!
Has anyone successfully signed-up for and gained access to this data? I signed up yesterday morning but am still getting a “Your membership account has not been activated yet” message when I try to log in. I have a few projects that this might be useful for, but I am not going to sit around waiting forever to get access to this data. One day in Internet time is years IRL…