DOT to Build National Transit Map to Improve Transit Nationwide
By creating a repository of transit data from states across the nation, the U.S. Transportation Department is hoping to identify areas where transit is lacking and help it reach its full potential.
This endeavor, labeled the National Transit Map, will help city planners locate these “transit deserts,” and help areas with substandard train and bus service become better connected.
“ ‘Transit desert’ is a very simple way of saying, ‘Let’s look at where and how much service we provide versus what the potential [is],’ ” said Andrew Owen, director of the University of Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory.
“Even in a place like Kansas, if you look at the transit system in a small city there — yes, there is some transit — now we have an opportunity to map out where and how the transit service is compared to other things,” Owen said to the Washington Post.
In a letter to local and state transit agencies, Transportation Secretary Anthony R. Foxx asked them to volunteer a link to their transportation in a public domain so DOT can “construct a national dataset for research, planning, and analytical purposes for which a scheduled, periodic update is sufficient.”
In the letter, secretary Foxx emphasized that DOT had no interest in using this data to compete with existing navigation or real-time trip apps, even though the map will display stops, routes, and static schedules for all participating agencies.
March 31 marks the first National Transit Map Collection Day on which DOT will “crawl all registered open data sets and begin processing them,” according to FCW.
There are additional benefits for the agencies who share their data. According to a report from the Transit Cooperative Research Program, 66 percent of responding agencies said making open data accessible led people to perceive them as more transparent, while 78 percent said the public learned of more public transit services through open data.
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