Website Model Language

In adopting model language for stable URLs, data usage terms, and technical contacts, transit providers will accelerate improvements in the quality and coverage of trip planning. Sample language for each is provided below.

General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data

As explained in item 1 of the California Minimum GTFS Guidelines, GTFS data should be retrievable from stable URLs (web addresses that don't change) that are discoverable on a provider's website. Stable URLs for providers' GTFS and GTFS Realtime feeds are critical for enabling user-facing applications that provide transit information to the general public. Changing the URL with each GTFS update may cause information to disappear from user-facing applications due to a broken link. Uploading GTFS data directly to the Google Transit Partner portal does not make the raw data available to other trip planning applications or the general public, so it is insufficient to satisfy this guideline. Providing a stable URL for the most recent data does not prevent a provider from making historical GTFS data available through different addresses. This guideline can be resolved with the following.

GTFS terms of use

As explained in item 7 of the California Minimum GTFS Guidelines, GTFS data should be retrievable without unreasonable legal requirements. GTFS data should be offered under the latest version of either the Open Data Commons Attributions (ODC-BY) or Creative Commons Attributions license (currently CC-BY 3.0), which are both consistent with the license required by the National Transit Map. These licenses should be adopted as-is, without additional requirements that would add undue complexity.

Technical contact

As explained in item 9 of the California Minimum GTFS Guidelines, providers should include a technical contact on both their website and in the feed_info.txt file within the static GTFS feed itself. The purpose of this guideline is to ensure that app developers can report inconsistencies or errors they observe, so that all riders can benefit from these reports.  This contact information should reassure writers that their feedback will be received and understood. This can be achieved with one of the following.
  • A technical-sounding email address, such as “gtfs@“ or "developers@“
  • A specific individual, assuming this is kept up-to-date.
  • A link to the main customer service workflow (be it a form, email, or phone number) with the reassurance that the people monitoring this channel are prepared to handle technical inquiries.