The entries in routes.txt should typically have the same organization as the physical routes or lines communicated to riders by an agency.
As an example, an agency will often first group their timetables by route when presenting them on a website or in a printed booklet. The entries in routes.txt should generally have a one-to-one correspondence to the timetable routes.
It can be tempting for an agency to break a physical route into multiple entries in routes.txt in order to represent different route variations such as direction of travel. The preferred approach is to instead use features of trips.txt to model those variations. Multiple entries in routes.txt with the same route short name or route long name are often an indication that routes have been needlessly subdivided.
Route names should not contain words like "line" or "route". The value of the
route_short_name field should usually be a number or a short identifier. It should not be duplicated in the
route_long_name field, as they are generally shown next to each other. If the route doesn't have both a
route_long_name and a
route_short_name it's fine to leave one field empty.
Values provided in
route_text_color should be consistent with the real world or your published maps as it makes it easier for the users to recognize the route. They should be contrasting colors as they are used as text and background colors when displaying route names.
Provide route URLs in the
route_url field if you have a website with more information about the particular route. You can provide a description for the route in
route_desc but this field is currently not used by Google Transit.