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Google Transit basics

About Realtime Transit

Realtime Transit provides live transit information and updates to Google Maps and Google Maps for mobile users. These updates include the latest departure and arrival times, as well as service alerts.

To provide this information, transit agencies build a data feed of their updates and share it with Google. Complementing the widely used GTFS format, the Realtime feed format contains data encapsulated in Google’s open Protocol Buffer data interchange format. These Realtime feeds are periodically fetched by Google or programmatically pushed by the agency when something changes. Feed updates are immediately processed as Realtime Transit Updates information so that users get timely transit information.

Benefits

Adding a Realtime Transit feed to complement your existing static feed enhances users’ experiences with your transit services. For example, riders get:

  • Up-to-date arrival and departure time info: Allows users to plan their trips even more efficiently.

  • Advance notification of service delays: Helps to reduce inconvenience to transit users.

  • Smoother transit experiences: Helps to encourage repeat users, improving potential for increased ridership.

Get started

In order to publish a Realtime Transit feed, you need to have a working GTFS static transit information feed in Google Maps (either live or in preview).

Once you have your static feed and server space for your realtime data, it's a simple process to publish your realtime transit feed:

  1. Sign up

  2. Create a GTFS Realtime feed

  3. Choose how you will submit your data

  4. Publish your data

  5. Test your data

  6. Prepare for launch

For developer resources, see the GTFS-realtime specifications.

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