Launch process

Create a GTFS Realtime feed

A General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) Realtime feed allows you to provide current information about your transit fleet to application developers, like Google. GTFS Realtime is designed for easy implementation, interoperability with the route and schedule information in your GTFS feed, and provides the most accurate and useful passenger information.

The GTFS Realtime data exchange format is based on Protocol Buffers, a compact and easy-to-validate binary format. This allows for much faster and more efficient feed updates.

GTFS Realtime feeds are either periodically fetched by Google (typically every 30 seconds), or programmatically pushed by a transit agency when something changes.

Types of GTFS Realtime data

GTFS Realtime allows you to provide three types of updates in continuously updated feeds:

  1. Trip updates: Delays, cancellations and changed routes

  2. Service alerts: Stop moved, unforeseen events affecting a station, route or the entire network

  3. Vehicle positions: Information about the vehicles, including location and congestion level

Resources for creating a GTFS Realtime feed

The Google Transit developer site provides code and tips for all Realtime Transit features, as well as code samples in a variety of common programming languages.

For community input on particularly challenging issues, be sure to visit the GTFS Realtime forum.

Even if your feed is empty and does not contain real data, you can keep the integration process going as long as you have the feed structure. So, we recommend setting up a syntactically valid feed structure and then proceeding to the next step of specifying how you’ll submit your feed.

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