A GTFS feed is composed of a series of text files collected in a ZIP file. Each file models a particular aspect of transit information: stops, routes, trips, and other schedule data. The details of each file are defined in the GTFS reference.
See GTFS Examples for model feeds that illustrate GTFS usage. A transit agency can produce a GTFS feed to share their public transit information with developers, who write tools that consume GTFS feeds to incorporate public transit information into their applications. GTFS can be used in a variety of applications & processes (see GTFS Applications, below).
Making a Transit Feed Publicly Available
Many applications are compatible with data in the GTFS format. The simplest way to make a feed public is to host it on a web server. Developers and consuming applications can download GTFS data from the specified URL.
The best method to quickly share a GTFS dataset with a large number of developers is to register the zip file URL via websites that serve as the primary global directories of publicly accessible GTFS data:
A partial directory of the many applications that consume and utilize GTFS data is maintained at TransitWiki.
Many types of applications consume GTFS data, including:
- Trip planning and maps – applications that assist a in planning journeys from one location to another using public transportation and other modes
- Timetable creation – to create a printed list of the agency’s schedule in a timetable format
- Accessibility – applications that assist transit riders with disabilities in using public transportation
- Planning & analysis – applications that assist transit professionals in assessing the current or planned transit network, including ridership forecasting
- Real-time transit information – applications that use GTFS data along with a real-time information source to provide estimated arrival information to transit riders
- Public Information Displays - Electronic displays to show schedule information, service advisories, real-time arrivals and/or other information
See also: applications and services for creating and maintaining GTFS data.
There are a number of mailing lists that can be good resources when you have questions about public transit data, software, formats like GTFS and GTFS-realtime, and other issues:
- GTFS Changes: discussion of proposal for extending the GTFS specification.
- GTFS Slack: Slack “organization” at with channels devoted to GTFS topics. Request an invite to gtfs.slack.com here.
- Transit Developers: general transit developer discussions. Many transit agencies also have their own developer mailing lists specific to the agency. For example:
- Check with your local transit agency to see if they have a mailing list of their own.