[OSM-talk] Is anyone making public transport routing maps based onOpenStreetMap data?

Peter Miller peter.miller at itoworld.com
Wed Dec 17 02:29:56 GMT 2008

On 16 Dec 2008, at 23:30, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason wrote:

> I'm interested in completely mapping my city bus network, it would be
> great if there was some online routing application that I could go to
> that could plan my routes. Of course I'd have to provide it with
> sufficient survey information to do this, which would be part of
> mapping it obviously.
> Routing applications based on OSM data also have the opportunity to do
> inter-network routing. You could step onto a bus in one city, take a
> rail to another one, inter-city bus to yet another city, then a bus
> and walk on a footway to your destination. All based on OSM data.

I am very interested in such an application and have taken some time  
to see what is happening around the world.

Graphserver seems to be the application of choice for route planning  
and it can work with OSM data and with public transport schedules  
often in a Google Transit format. See the 'Multimodal Shortest Path  
Tree of Bay Are' example in their gallery which uses OSM and google  
transit data:

Here is a reference to a public transport route planner that uses OSM  
data and Google Transit but I can't find a deployment.

"SITI: a multimodal journey planner based on open source software and  
'de facto' standards"

"Our project demonstrates that this barrier can be overcome from very  
small budgets. We have
developed a completely open source solution for a multimodal door to  
door public transport
information system based on several 'de facto' standards and open  
source packages. Our prototype is
simple and scalable, enabling the deployment of multimodal journey  
planners with a wide range of
scope, from metropolitan to international coverage.

First of all, the cartography is based on Openstreetmap (OSM), [snip]

"We have chosen Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) as data  
exchange format for public
transport information. GTFS is the format developed by Google for its  
multimodal journey planner
Google Transit. We also have demonstrated how to export the full  
timetable database of a real
public transport operator like ETM (Empresa de Transport Metropolità  
de València) to GTFS,
enabling route calculation both from our prototype and from Google  

"The route calculation is performed by Graphserver, an open source  
package distributed under a
BSD license, written in C and Ruby. We have extensively extended  
Graphserver to improve its
integration with OSM and GTFS, and to incorporate human readable  
driving directions

I have just found this one, that also uses OSM and Graphserver for a  
community based transit journey planner for Toronto:

"In fact, almost all the tools we’ve used to build MyTTC are open  
source. The trip planner is based on Brandon Martin-Anderson’s  
excellent graphserver library, using data from both MyTTC and the  
OpenStreetMap project, an open source mapping initiative. Nearly  
everything was written using the powerful and elegant Ruby language  
under merb, along with a host of other open source tools from  
databases to webservers. The open source nature of our tools have  
enabled us to not only customize and improve them, but we’ve also had  
the opportunity to send those improvements back upstream.

Can I suggest that one takes a layering approach to this (as the  
professional transport sector does) and some layers belong in OSM and  
some not...

Firstly the bus stops (or more generally 'stop 'points) which is where  
one physically accesses the transport system which should be point  
features within OSM.

Secondly the routes the vehicles take which traveling on the network  
to get from stop point to stop point. In most cases this is obvious,  
but in a limited number of cases one will need to include route points  
that are not stop points. These might use the route relation and  
detail every way that is involved for every route, but this is more  
detail than a route planner needs that can work out most stop to stop  
routing without guidance. Including detailed routing in OSM means that  
it has to be updated every time the schedules change.

All of the rest of the data can then be in Google Transit Feed  
Specification (an open source data standard controlled by Google) and  
can feed GraphServer or equivalent for route planning. GT is not  
perfect and can't represent complex rail journeys but it is open  
source and there is data available already in it that can be used and  
it is a good starting point:

I am not sure how one would explicitly refer to the schedules file  
from OSM. Possibly all the stop points in a area would be part of a  
'network' relation that that network relation would refer to the  
external schedules file using a 'schedules' URL.

I think we can expect some other initiatives in this space soon along  
the lines of openrouteservice and yournavigation.

What I can't find is a good data entry tool for GTFS for entering and  
checking schedules.

Would it be useful to create a list for discussion of public transport  
applications within OSM. Could I suggest a title of 'talk-transit' or  
should this conversation be part of the 'talk-routing' list? Including  
PT routing in the talk-routing list might make some sense because  
there is always a walking element to the routing and people interested  
in routing may also be interested in PT routing. I certainly think  
this conversation needs a 'home' that is off the main talk list which  
is too busy already.


Peter Miller

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