California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP)
The California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP) aims to make it easier to use public transportation by offering seamless trip planning and payment across modes and across services in California. The transit experience should be seamless for all riders and consistent across all travel destinations. Cal-ITP works with public transportation agencies, the private sector, and other public institutions in order to achieve this goal.
What is the General Transit Feed Specification?
The General Transit Feed Specification, or GTFS, is a standard format for describing transit schedules and certain geospatial information for use in trip planning, and is the default specification for North American transit. An active community of data consumers and producers have expanded GTFS to describe real time transit information (GTFS-RT), alerts, accessible in-station pathways, and other information useful to transit riders.
The following links provide more information about GTFS.
- GTFS Reference – This document defines the format and structure of the files that comprise a GTFS dataset.
- GTFS Schedule Best Practices – These are recommended practices for describing scheduled public transportation services in GTFS.
- GTFS Realtime Best Practices - These are recommended practices for describing real time arrival information in GTFS-Realtime.
- Pioneering Open Data Standards: The GTFS Story – A first-person account of the original TriMet and Google project that started GTFS.
Minimum GTFS Guidelines
Cal-ITP developed Caltrans’ California Minimum General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) Guidelines in 2020 to ensure that transit data in California meets the needs of the traveling public and the operators that serve them. These guidelines, including a ten-point Data Process Checklist, were developed in collaboration with the agencies and operators that plan, manage, and run California’s transportation network.
Any transit provider can assess their information against the Checklist to identify opportunities to improve their rider information. Caltrans will occasionally complete this assessment on an agency's behalf and provide technical assistance. To request a proactive assessment, contact GTFSRT@dot.ca.gov.
To monitor the impact of these Guidelines on transit information quality, Cal-ITP conducted an initial Benchmarking review in October 2020. This benchmark will be periodically updated for internal and public performance review.
A release candidate for version 2 of the Guidelines was published June 18, 2021. Submit feedback to GTFSRT@dot.ca.gov through July 21. A public information session will be held on July 19 from 1–2pm PT. Email GTFSRT@dot.ca.gov to register.
Data Quality Reports
GTFS data is only useful when it is accurate. The nonprofit MobilityData maintains a GTFS Validator that checks for adherence to the specification and other likely errors, such as impossibly fast travel times. Cal-ITP runs this validator automatically every month on all known GTFS feeds in California, producing summary reports of observed errors. Those reports are run at the first of each month, and the archive dating to June 2021 is available at California GTFS Quality Dashboard. To subscribe for automated delivery of one or more of these GTFS data quality reports, or to submit a new California GTFS feed for review, send your request to GTFSRT@dot.ca.gov.
Website model language
Transit riders use different kinds of information—including stop locations, routing, and vehicle arrival times—to plan and complete their journeys. Transit providers dedicate significant resources to providing this information through a variety of channels, including third-party mapping and journey-planning applications.
Cal-ITP has identified model language for transit providers to consider and adopt as they disseminate trip planning information to their riders.
Several kinds of hardware and software are required to produce GTFS data. The following sections introduce and explore the full stack of technology an agency may need.
- Technology Components. What might an agency need, and what is each component intended to do?
- Technology Stacks. How have other California agencies composed their systems, and what can we learn from their technology choices?
Do you work for a California transit operator, and would you like to learn more about producing high-quality GTFS data? Cal-ITP offers free technical assistance through a variety of channels.
- Email us at GTFSRT@dot.ca.gov.
- Drop by our regularly scheduled California Transit Office Hours.
- Join one of our Transit Working Groups.
- Participate in a Demonstration Project.
Are you a vendor who either works with transit agencies in California or would like to? Cal-ITP occasionally conducts Market Soundings to gather input from companies and interested parties in the marketplace regarding their capabilities and interest in a specific topic, technology, or constraint.