GTFS was recently chosen by the United States Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as the primary method for collecting service area data for National Transit Database (NTD) reporting. The due date for the annual report for the 2023/24 fiscal year ending in June is October 31. Read on to know all about GTFS and its benefits and ensure you are compliant with this new mandate.
What is GTFS?
Transportation systems worldwide rely on data standards to ensure compatibility and boost innovation. For example, the European Union uses the Network Timetable Exchange (NeTEx) based on the Public Transport Reference Data Model (Transmodel) to provide public transit schedules and related data for Intelligent Transport Systems. Similarly, General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) was originally designed to provide public transportation schedule information. It is an open data specification maintained by a community of developers and MobilityData, a non-profit organization advocating for data interoperability.
Evolution of GTFS and its many benefits
GTFS has evolved to include real-time data (GTFS-realtime), including:
- Arrival estimates (ETAs)
- Service modifications
- Vehicle locations
- Service alerts
GTFS schedule data can also be enriched by including extensions such as:
- GTFS-Fares (determining fare costs)
- GTFS-Flex (providing on-demand and deviated fixed route service information)
- GTFS-Pathways (improving wayfinding within transit stations, especially for travelers with disabilities)
The recent requirement to include GTFS in NTD reports has solidified its importance as a standardized data format for understanding the impact of service decisions on riders. With its scalability, GTFS can be utilized by rural agencies and mega cities alike.
What are the requirements to be compliant for NTD?
There are a few important steps that need to be followed in order to ensure you are ready for the October 31 deadline, including:
- Assessing if you have existing GTFS data
- Creating GTFS data, if not current
- Publishing data
- Report to NTD
GTFS Compliance Next Steps
To evaluate your readiness, we have created an easy to follow checklist to help you prepare for the GTFS NTD deadline.
Download Now: Guide: Report GTFS to the NTD
Optibus Scheduling and Planning products export GTFS data as part of their core feature set. Optibus' subsidiary, Trillium, specializes in GTFS management, ensuring that our clients' data is clean and accurate. If you have questions or need assistance contact us to set up a call to comply with this new requirement. We are here to help!