Following the first time release of the US National Transit Map at the beginning of this September by the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx blogged about the new data resource underlying it.
“Measuring connectivity starts with having good data about where America’s transit connects – where transit stops are, how frequent transit service is, and where transit routes go.”
The multifaceted maps synthesize infrastructure data across the country. Foxx continues, “Today, I’m excited to announce that we’re taking a big step forward in this effort: the launch of the open data platform for the US Department of Transportation’s first-ever National Transit Map.”
National Transit Map uses a remarkable geospatial database containing information submitted by almost 270 transit agencies.
The BTS press release reports that the maps provide open, machine-readable data about transit stops, routes, and schedules.
- The national, openly available map of fixed-guideway and fixed-route transit service in America will allow the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to demonstrate the importance and role of transit in American society and to identify and address gaps in access to public transportation. It will also support research, planning, and analysis on the benefits of transit, such as the economic impacts of transit on a community’s economic development, or on reducing poverty in low-income neighborhoods.
- The national Transit Map can be used to support DOT’s Ladders of Opportunity initiative to promote the use of existing transportation networks to connect residents to jobs, education, health, government, and other essential services.
- The initial National Transit Map consists of General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data feeds registered with BTS in response to a March 2016 request for the data from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Data from 270 transit agencies provided information on over 398,000 stops and stations and almost 10,000 routes. Development of the National Transit Map is a continuing process and another update is expected to be released by the end of 2016.
The first map below is a map of participating transit agencies. It’s a map of transit agency headquarter locations, showing which agencies have volunteered to take part in the National Transit Map.
Next is a map of transit agencies visualizing number of vehicles operated in maximum service. So, again, it is a map of transit agency headquarter locations, but with larger symbols showing those agencies with a higher number of vehicles operated in maximum service (VOMS), a commonly used measure of service capacity. VOMS is the number of revenue vehicles operated to meet the annual maximum service requirement. This is the revenue vehicle count during the peak season of the year on the week and day that maximum service is provided. It excludes atypical days or one-time special events.
Lastly, the follow map is a map of transit stops and buffers in the DC metro area. This map shows all fixed-route transit stops for all transit agencies in the metro area currently participating in the National Transit Map. It also includes two optional buffer layers showing the area within a ¼ mile and a ½ mile of the transit stop. These are commonly used distances when studying accessibility.
Wander around the maps for more fun. There are many other subjects to explore:
Clicking on “Airports” from the choices on the site, I got the screenshot below. You can see a bit of the action, data, and comparisons for a taste of what can be unveiled.
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