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.
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 updated the GTFS data for both the tripplanner and on the GTFS Data Exchange. This adds in support for loops. This means we are now starting to support the DART trolley routes! Additionally, this adds in block support which dramatically improves routing in cases where the rider needs to stay on the bus when the bus changes from an outbound to an inbound route.
For example, the US31 route travels down US31 until it the Galleria Mall. At the Galleria Mall, the outbound trip stops and the inbound trip begins. However, on the inbound trip, the bus leaves the Galleria, and instead of going back the way it came, it loops up through Lorna road before eventually meeting up with US31 and continuing back to Central Station. This means if you are somewhere on US31 and want to go to downtown, you actually need to catch the outbound bus, ride it to the Galleria, stay on the bus as it switches to the inbound route, and ride it to downtown. Without the blocks, the routing algorithm was having trouble switching from outbound to inbound, and assumed the rider must exit the bus and make the transfer. Because the transfer time is less than 1 minute, the algorithm would tell the rider to get off the bus, and wait 30 minutes for the next bus! This is now fixed, and the algorithm now knows that the rider can stay on the bus and continue to Central Station. This should help along any of the routes that have loops.
As I have been working on cataloging the BJCTA bus stops and generating route data, I have been posting it online at the gtfs-data-exchange for anyone to use. While major companies like Google won’t pick up on this data until it is certified by the agency, smaller 3rd party applications are.
Over the weekend, HopStop updated their app and included my transit data for the BJCTA buses. HopStop has free apps on Android, iPhone, and Windows phone devices. While I have released my own trip planner for android devices (BJCTA Trip Planner), I don’t yet have one for iPhones or Windows phones, so I’m glad to see 3rd party apps incorporating my data!
Continuing on with my project to get Birmingham’s MAX bus system on Google Transit, I was able to get the Open Trip Planner software up and running. This is letting me visualize some of the preliminary GTFS data to validate it before I continue work on the rest of the routes. Here’s two examples showing trip planning between various locations. The stop locations are coming from my stop cataloging site.