Schedules and Trip Planning Data (GTFS)
GTFS, or the General Transit Feed Specification, is the standard format used by many transit agencies to release schedule and trip planning information. In addition to Google Maps, GTFS is at the heart for many MBTA trip planning applications. GTFS is a well-documented standard. Learn more at Google's documentation.
This feed contains information for all MBTA services, including bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, and ferries, as well as MassPort airport shuttles.
Getting the File
The MBTA GTFS file is delivered in a ZIP file. The file is located here .
It will remain available at the same URL. It is updated at least four times a year, but may change at any time. To ensure that you have the latest data without constantly downloading the whole thing you can download the current feed_info.txt file here and compare it to the feed_info.txt file from your last GTFS download. If the feed_version field is different then you need to update.
Announcing upcoming changes
We’re announcing some upcoming changes to our GTFS feed, and publishing a preview or "prototype" version of that feed. These changes are designed to bring our data in line with best practices, make it easier for you to work with, add information, and improve the presentation you're able to make to users.
The MBTA plans for these changes to go into production in March. The changes shown in the prototype may be altered based on your feedback before we go into production. The prototype is available now at the following link:
New route structure for subway
We’re doing away with the practice of having multiple route_id's for different stop patterns of the same subway line. The Green Line branches each get their own route_id, and all other subway lines get one route_id each -- "B", "C", "D", "E", "Blue", "Mattapan", "Orange", "Red". Green Line branches are also now identified as part of route_short_name and route_long_name.
New route_sort_order field
route_sort_order in routes.txt identifies the proposed order in which routes should be listed. It's an easy way to group the Silver Line in with the rest of rapid transit and avoid the "1, 10, 100, 2" problem when sorting strings containing numbers. route_sort_order is not an official part of the GTFS specification, it is a proposed extension, and will be a non-negative integer.
Routes classified in route_desc field
Instead of being blank, route_desc in routes.txt will contain a phrase categorizing the kind of service provided. Subject to change, the strings initially in use are:
· "Rapid Transit" - all MBTA rapid transit service, including the Silver Line.
· "Local Bus" - A bus route.
· "Key Bus Route (Frequent Service)" - The MBTA's "key bus routes" have the same operating hours as rapid transit, and run more frequently than local bus routes. Example: route 1.
· "Express Bus" - a bus route that travels on the highway and charges an express bus fare. Example: route 501.
· "Limited Service" - a bus route that may have only a few trips a day, or only run on weekends. Examples: route 4 (rush-hour only), route 62/76 (Saturdays only), route 171 (one trip a day.)
· "Commuter Rail" - all commuter rail service.
· "Ferry" - all boat service.
· "Airport Shuttle" - Massport's Logan airport circulators.
New wheelchair_boarding and wheelchair_accessible fields
Accessibility information is added in the new stops.txt wheelchair_boarding field (and for consistency a wheelchair_accessible field in trips.txt, which is always equal to 1). Note that if a stop has a wheelchair_boarding value of 0 (no information) and a parent stop, then as per the GTFS specification it should inherit the parent stop's wheelchair_boarding value.
Consistent use of pickup_type, drop_off_type
In stop_times.txt all trips now follow the rule that the first stop_time has a drop_off_type of 1 (no one exits a vehicle at the first stop) and the last stop_time has a pickup_type of 1 (no one boards a vehicle at the last stop.) Additionally the feed will now reflect bus routes have some pick-up only or drop-off only service; in this prototype version of the feed this has only been applied to route 34E.
We've shortened the headsign_text field in trips.txt in some cases, most often by removing the word "Station."
As stated above this is a prototype, and we're looking to get feedback before the changes are finalized. Please ask any questions and provide any feedback on the MassDOT Developers Google Group.