[Talk-transit] Naming concepts

Greg Troxel gdt at lexort.com
Sun Oct 30 20:27:27 UTC 2016

Felix Delattre <felix-lists at delattre.de> writes:

> There are different concepts of routes in OpenStreetMap and GTFS.
> Sometimes they are not existent or ambiguous.

I am a native speaker of en_US.

> 1. A general public transport service (e.g. No. 38):
> In OSM: "route_master" in GTFS: "route"

I find route_master to be an odd term, and very much computer jargon vs
human language.

> 2. A theoretical tour a bus takes, but without schedule information, it
> represents one each for different direction, but also if one is shorter
> than the other   
> In OSM: "route"; in GTFS: /not existent/

I would call this a bus route.  Around me, it would have a number, and a
set of stops.   Then there would be a schedule for the bus route that
says what time the bus starts from each end and the time for at least
some of the intermediate stops.   So I find the use of the word route in
OSM natural.  It also parallels the use of route for a road, which is a
sequence of ways, but without timing.

> 3. An actual tour a bus takes, on a certain time
> In OSM" not existen; in GTFS: "trip"

It makes sense to use "trip" in GTFS, and it makes sense that this is
not in OSM because we don't represent that level of information.

> Route: Is used for different concepts (I guess because of British and
> American English)

I don't think it's en_GB vs en_US.  I've recently driven in Scotland and
about 10 years ago in Ireland, and didn't find route to mean something
significantly differently.  In the US, we use it as part of the name of
a numbered highway, e.g. "Route 2" is a state highway that goes for
about 200 miles.  It is signed the whole way and you change road name
often, but you follow that sequence of roads to get from Boston to the
New York border, more or less.  Perhaps that isn't used that way in the
UK, but the notion of "bus route" seemed similar to me.

> Routemaster:  Is a very technical term. I thinks, it's not
> understandable when looking at it naively (isn't this the bus driver?)

Agreed.  This is a defined term that doesn't mean anything to native
speakers without reading the definition.

Absent a definition, I wouldn't expect it to mean the driver.   I would
expect it to mean the official at the transit organization or bus
company that has the authority to decide what streets that route will go
on (and can change the set of stops).

> It call them 1: Service Line; 2. Route Variant 3: Trip
> English native speakers, please help: Does this make sense to you? Would
> you suggest other terms for the concepts to be even more understandable?

Service line and variant don't give me the right idea.  But on really
thinking I can see where you are coming from.

My basic thoughts are to give the right impression and to align with

Your #1 I am not 100% sure what it is.  If it's essentially the string
"Route 38" and doesn't contain information about where, then I would
call it "route name".

Your #2: I would use route to represent the set of stops and the choice
of roads, and would expect this to be a pair for the two directions
(usually; a route could be circular and not bidirectional).  I find it
funny that GTFS doesn't have this, as the theory of putting databases in
normal form would lead to representing the set of stops and then having
sets of times.  However, I can see that this wouldn't quite work.  There
are train routes near me where some trains skip some of the smaller
stops.  So here I would expect the "route" to be a set of stops that
might be made, and the "trip" to sometimes omit some stops.

I do find "trip" to be pretty close to intuitive, although there is
ambiguity about whether it is a scheduled trip that repeats on multiple
days, or an actual single trip that happened.   That is not bothersome
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