How is the trip planner different than Google Transit?

Google Transit uses schedule data to build routes. Although BART has a fairly high on-time schedule adherence rate, MUNI's is not as high. When we built this app, our thought was: we know the real locations of the buses and trains, so surely this must be better than just looking at the schedule. We were right, but there are lots of improvements that still need to be made to fully take advantage of the full potential of using real-time data to plan trips. Check out the Media section to read a paper/see a presentation about our work.

Does real-time data really help in trip planning?

Everyone has their own opinion on the value of real-time data when they are waiting at a bus stop, or checking the arrivals on their mobile phone, but generally it's a very good thing. We did a study to see if real-time data actually lead to improved estimations of trip time, reduced missed transfers, and provided suggestions for faster alternative routes. These were all true, but we found that there was a large room for improvement.See our paper presented at the Transportation Research Board in January 2010 here (Media), and we will post our ideas and future work to improve real-time data in transit applications very shortly.

Where are you getting your data?

The route configuration data comes from the official GTFS (Google Transit Feed Specification) feeds provided by San Francisco Muni and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

You can get a list of GTFS feeds at the official Google Transit page or get a list of even more GTFS feeds from the excellent GTFS Data Exchange.
The documentation for how to use the real-time data is located at MUNI's site.
BART's real-time feed is here, with the documentation located here.

How does the bike planner work?

We worked together with the guys at www.bikesy.com to develop the bike planner, which is based on the awesome Open Street Map and GraphServer. Check out the bike directions information at the Bikesy API.We are incredibly grateful to www.ridesf.com for helping us deliver bike directions in the early versions of our app. Thank You!

Who are you guys?

This app was developed by students at UC Berkeley in the Civil Systems Program. We are just starting a new research group to study a couple different things in the area of transportation mode choice and the effect of new technology and information in travel behavior. We will post our future work here, as well as papers we are reading as part of the group.

I'm interested in doing a project like this in my city. How do I start?

To get a version of this app in your city, you need: a GTFS feed and an agency willing to release their real-time data to the public. Thankfully, San Francisco MUNI and BART provides both. We are aware that TriMet in Portland, OR has data available, and we are looking to expand the app to other cities. For bike routes, we use the open source API provided by www.bikesy.com, and you can implement the same code to do biking directions in any city! Get the source code here.

A good place to to look for transit apps is CityGoRound
A great resource for programmers interested in public transportation is the Transit Developers Google Group

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? EMAIL US!