The NJTPA supports providing the traveling public with timely and accurate information about all transportation mode choices, particularly “shared-ride” alternatives to driving alone. In line with this goal NJTPA has undertaken the Pilot Shared Transportation Services Mobile Application Data Support Project. The objective of this project is to gather data from participating transit providers and develop a General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) of the regional transportation services. The GTFS defines a common format for public transportation schedules and associated geographic information. Through the creation, maintenance and publishing of this combined GTFS public feed, the NJTPA will be providing transit data for the support of mobile applications that in turn can improve access to shared transportation services.
An agency outreach plan was developed, with input from the Technical Advisory Committee and participating transit providers. A questionnaire was defined and included in the outreach plan. The questionnaire served as a tool to gather information about existing agency data that could be employed as input to the Pilot Shared Transportation data sets. Once the data was collected a detailed analysis of the participating agencies transit information was conducted.
Based on the data analysis each agency was then classified into one of two categories. Agencies that currently have GTFS data feeds and agencies that do not. These two categories laid the foundation for designing and creating the Agency Data Workflow. This workflow defines how participating agencies will regularly update and maintain their GTFS data. By leveraging existing NJTPA technology and expertise along with industry best practice the Shared Transportation Services Application Data Model was built. As NJTPA receives new and updated data from the agencies it will be uploaded into this data model. The Pilot Shared Transportation Services Mobile Application Database can regularly produce the combined public GTFS feed. This public-facing, free-to-use GTFS feed will ultimately result in improved access to regional transportation options in accord with NJTPA’s Goals and Objectives.
It was found that the largest challenge with managing and maintaining these datasets is participation from each of the share-ride agencies, which includes providing properly formatted data for dissemination. Some options to consider for streamlining this process includes:
- NJTPA providing a standardized website and/or tools for the agencies to maintain these datasets.
- Active participation from the share-ride agencies
- More involvement of the TMAs to gather, manage, and maintain the data.
For further information on this project, contact Gabrielle Fausel, NJTPA Project Manager at [email protected]