How to Access Subway Data

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Last week, we talked about data pertaining to the subway in class and I brought up that I work for New York City Transit myself. I’ve been meaning to write a short blog post about how to access the MTA API. A good amount of free data is available, including the actual arrival times for the 1-6 trains in real time.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 You can access everything here. You just need to agree to the terms and check out what they have. From there, just follow the instructions to get a key and read the documentation for how to use it.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The backbone of everything is the static GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) file. This is an industry-wide standard which details subway station information, scheduled train arrivals, trips, transfers, the actual genuine shape of the route a subway line will take on a map (as close to accurate as it can be), and more. This is what Google uses to display all of its transit data, while also including real-time feeds where it exists.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 5, 2016 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing Brian.

    I initially had the question: “what does this data mean? Is there a definition file?”

    I found how GTFS works: https://developers.google.com/transit/gtfs/reference/?csw=1
    Very usable data, but I got a little overwhelmed. Will leave it to the professionals.

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