May 25, 2017, 12:00PM (ET)

Benefits of Open-source Software to Transit Agencies

Technology is rapidly changing the transit industry in many ways. Riders now expect state-of-the-art transit information tools in their pockets including journey planners and real-time information. Fortunately, the world of open source transit applications is making it easier for transit agencies to deploy state-of-the-art information tools with more agency control and less overall cost. This session will discuss three open source systems that combined provide much of the functionality expected by today’s transport riders. The most recognized and adaptable of these being OneBusAway, transiTime, and OpenTripPlanner. We will detail where and how these have been deployed, and the benefits and drawbacks to transit agencies using an open source approach for such customer services. We will also highlight the benefits that can be incurred by transport agencies by taking the initial step of opening up their data for developers to use in such applications. Download Handout

Presenters: Kari Watkins, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Georgia Tech; and Sean Óg Crudden, Independent, Open Source Developer

Dr. Kari Watkins is a newly tenured Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech and the Frederick Law Olmsted Junior Professor.  She returned to her undergraduate alma mater to become a faculty member in 2011 after completing her PhD at the University of Washington. Dr. Watkins focuses her research on the creation of a more livable and sustainable transportation system using the application of information technologies to improve public transit and bikeability.  Her work in transportation technology has been lauded with numerous awards, most recently the 2017 CUTC New Faculty Award.  She began her work in this field co-developing OneBusAway, a real-time transit rider information system that relies on open data from transit agencies.

Sean Óg Crudden is an independent, open source developer from Ireland with 20 years development and consulting experience. His current project is managing all aspects of the implementation and expansion of the Leap (multi-modal smart card) in Irish Rail. This is fully deployed in Dublin and Sean is currently involved with the scheme expansion to Cork, the second largest city in Ireland. He is an expert in open source transit technologies and an elected member of the board of OneBusAway since 2015.  Sean Óg is the main open source contributor to transiTime and a GTFS real-time expert. Sean is currently partnering with Georgia Tech to implement a new holding method for the Atlanta Streetcar and VIA in San Antonio as an extension to transiTime using an algorithm proposed by PhD student, Simon Berrebi. This system manages the headway of the transit vehicles to allow the move from a scheduled based service to a frequency based service resulting in consistent waiting times for passengers.


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  1. Is there any way to access the content of this webcast without using Flash and Adobe Connect? We do not support installation of this software due to its security vulnerabilities.

    • Hi Keith, Currently our webinars are only available using Flash and Adobe Connect.

  2. Looking forward to the discussion

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