Thu 21 Feb 2008
Update (3/5/08): TriMet sent me an updated version of the presentation; I’ve updated the version embedded on this page, or you can download the PDF.
Earlier today at the APTA TransITech conference, TriMet‘s Tim McHugh gave a heartening talk about their experiences with making their raw schedules and and real-time information available to developers. Here are the slides:
Since you don’t get to hear the spoken half of the talk, here are a few points that he made that aren’t in the slides:
- Riders always want more ways of accessing transit information, but TriMet has limited development cycles; releasing schedule feeds and APIs is way to allow outside developers to close the gap.
- Chances are, outside developers are already scraping your transit site anyway, so why not give them a less error-prone direct feed of the information?
- In the future, they plan to release an API to their trip planner.
- Since they’ve launched their developer site, they’ve only received positive feedback on the resources; there’s been no negative impact on them from doing this!
The significance of this talk lay partly in the audience of technical staff from other agencies and transit vendors–this is the strongest endorsement that I’ve ever seen from an agency of the virtues of working with outside developers. In time, I hope that stories like TriMet’s will convince other agencies that they have much more to gain than they have to lose by sharing their data.