The US Department of Transportation is launching an effort to create a national transit map from state and local transit data. DOT sent a letter to transit officials nationwide this week asking for access to transportation maps, bus times and other data points that will go into creating the project.
In the letter, Transportation Secretary Anthony R. Foxx, pointed out that even with the wealth of newly created transportation apps available to individuals, we are unable to see the full scope of public transportation networks across the US. He adds that by creating a map, we can begin to plan realistically for transit in a way that identifies gaps in availability and improves congestion on highly used public transit systems.
“About half of the transit agencies in the United States, including almost all of the largest agencies, already collect this information in a common format, GTFS, and make it available either publicly through their Web site or directly to private companies. Each transit agency sets a variety of restrictive terms on the use of their data. This information can be accessed for analytical purposes by the public, planning agencies, researchers, or Government agencies, but it must be requested on a casebycase basis,” Secretary Foxx writes. “The solution is straightforward: a national repository of voluntarily provided, public domain GTFS feed data that is compiled into a common format with data from fixed route systems.”
Once completed, the map will be available in the public domain. March 31, 2016 will be the first national transportation data collection day, where DOT will crawl all of the transit sources it has access to in order to start compiling the map.
The full text of the letter is available here.