Archive for the ‘Tulsa Transit Project’ Category

The Tulsa Transit Project at 20 months

October 12, 2012

Back in March 2011, the Tulsa Web Devs started a simple project – get the Tulsa Transit (aka MTTA) data on Google Maps. By July 2011, we had a working GTFS feed. We had some well-deserved drinks to celebrate, and I put together a presentation of the progress. It felt like we’d have the bus schedule on Google Maps by the Fall.

Well, it’s over a year later, and Tulsa is still not on the list. If you go to Google Maps and try to get transit directions, it looks a lot like Tulsa doesn’t have a bus system.

The data is ready. It’s not perfect, not 100%. It was at 75% in July 2011, it’s at 95% today. There is plenty I’d like to improve, but at any point in the last year, Google would have accepted the data and put Tulsa’s bus schedule on their maps. It is not on Google Maps because Tulsa Transit has not taken the next steps to sign up for Google Transit. There is no cost to join – MTTA just needs to provide a free license to Google for the data. We’ve recently met with the MTTA staff, and I’m hopeful that we’ll see some progress in the next 30 days.

While we haven’t met our main goal, there has been a lot of progress over the last year. Here are the highlights:

  • Tulsa Transit launched MILES, their online trip planner. It’s better than the paper or PDF schedules. It’s not as useful as Google Maps.
  • The Tulsa Web Devs launched the Tulsa Trip Planner, using OpenTripPlanner to display the GTFS data. This came with some interesting analysis tools. It’s not as useful as Google Maps, but we get to show what we’ve been working on for the last 18 months.
  • I’ve decoded the MTTA pattern data. This means that the bus appears to drive down streets and take turns at intersections. Last year, it looked like buses cut through parking lots and buildings to get from stop to stop.
  • I’ve added additional data to the GTFS feed, like the holiday schedule, so that the feed is more accurate.
  • I’ve converted the parsing code from a bunch of command-line Python scripts to a Django 1.4 web application. I still have to type on the command line to parse the data, but I get Django’s awesome admin interface as well. The code is available on github. The web app is only on my laptop. I hope to change that soon.
  • I’ve moved the GTFS code to a stand-alone project, django-multi-gtfs. This is the place for all the non-MTTA bits, which are potentially useful for other projects.

We’re going into a 24-hour Hackathon this weekend, and I hope to improve the Tulsa Transit project. My personal goals are:

  • Improve the web app:
    • Get the Django app hosted, so that others can see a running
      version for themselves.
    • Support parsing the MTTA signup data from the web interface rather
      than the command line, so that MTTA staff can use it.
  • Improve the trip planner:
    • Update to the latest OpenTripPlanner code (and keep it updated).
    • Add features like street lookup and mobile support.
  • Improve the data:
    • Show data parsing issues in the web app, so that MTTA can fix
      issues in the signup data.
    • Add an interface for linking stop data to schedule data, when it can’t
      be done automatically.
    • Add support for ‘fixups’ that can be re-applied to new MTTA

However, my goal for the weekend is:

  • Get other people involved in the project

So, I’ll be focused on getting people up to speed – get a copy of the source
code, install all the dependencies, and get it running on their laptop.
After that, I’ll find out what they think is interesting, and get started.

I’ll let you know how it goes.