Last week, myself, Code for Birmingham, and a lot of other talented people came out for the weekend long Global Urban Datafest Hackathon. My team, the Red Mountain COALBOL Miners, worked on a project for the city of Birmingham to help convert their old proprietary datasets into modern formats that they can put in their data warehouse. This is the first big step in getting more open data available for Birmingham.
What was really great about this experience, was every challenge came from a government or city official, so we were solving actual needs and forming great relationships with our city leaders. All five teams did an excellent job, and I hope work continues on all the projects.
My team along with a project working with the Land Bank Authority both won the competition and will be moving on to the nationals. AL.com was one of the sponsors and has done some cool write ups of the weekend:
My trip planner for the BJCTA Max buses (http://www.bjctatripplanner.org) along with my android app, are now in sync with the official data from the BJCTA. I will continue to keep my site in sync with their data, which means up to date and accurate data!
Congratulations to the BJCTA for getting trip planning available on Google Maps. It’s been a long time coming and a lot of hard work, but our transit system has finally caught up with the times. Next up: real time feeds of buses!
I have updated the trip planner (http://bjctatripplanner.org). These changes fix several variants of the #1 and include several trips that were missing. The #1 should now be accurate including the #1 express service. The trip planner is already up to date and so is the android app. Hopstop and other 3rd party apps should update over the next week.
Weld recently did a two part series on the status of the BJCTA Bus System. My trip planner was featured in the second part. You can read it online from the links below:
Part 1 is a very interesting look at the decline of the bus system since the 1950s and the turmoil and political games around transit in Birmingham. Part 2 takes a look at what is being done now to improve the system along with stories from riders who rely on the system.
Last night I was waiting on a bus in 5 points after some drinks with friends. Among the 12 of us who were waiting on a bus, I noticed two young girls, who we clearly not from Birmingham, looking at their phones to figure out what bus to ride to get back to their hotel near the convention center. As I looked over their shoulder, I saw they were using my App! That right there was enough to make me realize that all the work I’ve been doing for the last 1.5 years has been worth it! So, if you haven’t already, give the buses a try and use my app to help you.
Microsoft’s Bing Maps now includes my GTFS bus data for the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA). This means you can use Bing Maps to plan all your bus trips through Birmingham on the MAX buses! This is great news! Here’s an example:
I have updated the trip planner for the BJCTA Max buses to include new routes. The 1 Express, 45 Express, 44 Montevallo, and 6 Pratt-Ensley have all been completed. You can download the data off of the GTFS Data Exchange.
My Trip Planner already includes the latest data. Or you can download my Android App for free from below.
I have created a Trip Planner app for Android phones. This was based on an open source OTP project that I was able to modify and customized to run against my trip planner. It costs nothing and has no ads. Please give it a try an let me know if you like it! It is available in the Google Play store under the name BJCTA Trip Planner.