../Morning Post
Posted April 14, 2011

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Transit

TriTAG and OpenDataWR Applaud Public Release of GRT Data, Host Launch Party

WATERLOO - Open Data Waterloo Region and the Tri-Cities Transport Action Group wish to applaud Grand River Transit’s long-awaited release of bus schedule data.

A redesigned GRT website went live. Included on the site is a collection of publicly-available, machine-readable files which constitute GRT’s current schedule and route information. The files are in a standard format known as a General Transit Feed Specification or GTFS, which is used to power online transit scheduling and visualization applications such as Google Transit.

“We are thrilled to see Waterloo Region finally releasing this data. Since Open Data Waterloo Region was founded, transit data has been the single biggest request we’ve heard,” said Michael Druker, a founder of both Open Data Waterloo Region and TriTAG.

“This is a valuable first step for building an open approach to data related to government and services in the Region of Waterloo,” said Jacqueline McKoy Lambert, a founder of OpenDataWR. “We hope this will build enthusiasm in the community for the opportunities of open data.”

“Transit schedules are the core of the transit system, but they are difficult to navigate,” said Tim Mollison, a founding member of TriTAG. “The release of this data allows local software developers to create applications for smartphones and appliances that will make it easier for people to take GRT and leave their cars at home.”

The next step for transit data in Waterloo Region is believed to be the release of real-time information on bus locations. “Knowing where exactly the bus is will help take the remaining guesswork out of transit,” said Mollison.

TriTAG and Open Data Waterloo Region will be hosting a launch party this Friday to mark this first major release of Grand River Transit data, and of municipal data in Waterloo Region more broadly. The two groups invite interested members of the public to join them at Little Bean Coffee Bar (417 King St W, Kitchener, ON) on Friday, April 15, between 5:00 and 7:00 pm for informal discussion and networking.

This event will provide attendees the opportunity to connect with others looking to foster community engagement through data-driven development. “We warmly welcome people interested in analyzing, visualizing, and developing applications with transit data to join us,” said Lambert, of OpenDataWR.

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