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Welcome to the 511SFBayDeveloperResources Google Group!

We’re glad you’re joining us in this discussion forum. We hope all of us in this group will benefit from active participation and constructive opinion on various topics on traveler information as they are related to the 511 SF Bay.

To get started, please review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below where we describe what 511 is; what this group is; and our goals for working together. We look forward to your questions, comments, and ideas discussed in this group.  


Q: What is 511?

A: 511 is the San Francisco Bay Area’s free phone, web, mobile, and texting service that provides transportation information for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. 511 gives up-to-the-minute information on driving times, traffic conditions, real-time transit departures and transit trip planning, instant carpool and vanpool referrals, bicycling information, and more. We collect data from many sources and make it available to developers for free. For more information, visit http://511.org. For information on other 511 programs outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/511.htm.


Q: What is 511SFBayDeveloperResources?

A: 511SFBayDeveloperResources is a discussion group managed by 511 staff from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The forum is intended to encourage back and forth communication between developers and MTC staff.  It will allow developers to reach out to MTC and each other with questions and feedback about 511 data, applications, APIs, etc., and to enable developers to share ideas with MTC about potential improvements. From time to time, MTC will publish technical documents on upcoming developments to gather feedback from the developer community in order to better inform our development.


Q: What kind of data does 511 provide and where do I get it?

A: 511 provides several data feeds, including real-time traffic and transit data, for developers who'd like to create applications, widgets, and other tools using 511 data. We also provide customizable tools and features for use on your own website. For the current list of data available, visit http://511.org/developer-resources.asp.


Q: What if I can’t find the data I need?

A: We’re working to release more data sets in the near future. We hope to get feedback from developers on your most desired data. Feel free to share your ideas in the forum.


Q: How do I use the data?

A: 511’s data is intended for users who have backgrounds in developing applications for travelers and/or in need of traveler data for transportation research and analyses. Each data source provides documentation and other supporting information to enable the user to work with the data.


Q: Will you help me with my code?

A: We will help you by making improvements to our data and programmable services for your improved usage, and by connecting you through this group to other developers who may be willing to help. However, we are not able to provide technical guidance for individual projects. If you encounter an error or issue with the data, please submit through this group.


Q: How often are the data sets updated?

A: Real-time traffic conditions and travel time information and transit departure data are updated constantly. Other static data for transit services such as schedules and route configuration data is updated as and when transit agencies make major service changes. Major transit service providers in the SF Bay Area make service changes 3 or 4 times a year. Medium and smaller transit agencies make major service adjustment less frequently.


Q: I’m making an app with your data. How will I find out about data changes or API versioning?

A: When we update data, produce a new API version, or create a new data source, we’ll alert the 511SFBayDeveloperResources group. For updates and versioning, we’ll do our best to give you as much advance notice as possible.


Q: How reliable are the data feeds? How does 511 maintain the data?

A: All data sources available to developers are currently used in various 511 SF Bay dissemination tools, including 511.org website, 511 phone, 511 Mobile website, and 511 texting applications. We are committed to maintaining reliable, accurate, and available data. If you ever encounter an availability issue, please alert us immediately at developerresources@511.org.


Q: Is there a fee for using the data?

A: All data sources and tools are free-of-charge. We'd simply like you to provide attribution to 511; details are provided in the agreement for each data feed or tool.


Q:  I made an app with your data. Can you promote it on 511.org?

A:  Great, we can’t wait to see it! If you’d like to showcase it on 511.org, please contact us at developerresources@511.org to request placement on our Third-Party Apps & Websites. Make sure to follow the instructions in the agreement for crediting 511 as the source of the data. We’re working on creating an app gallery with options for featured placement of apps.


Q: I’d like to help 511 test or enhance the data. Can I do that?

A: As we begin to roll out new data sources, we’ll alert the group and ask for testers and other feedback. We look forward to your involvement.


Q:  If I encounter an issue with the 511 data and services, who should I contact?

A:  Post on this group and we'll work on the issue together.


Q: Why don’t my messages post to the group right away?

A: This is a forum for invited members only. 511 staff does not moderate, filter, or delete messages posted by members. We will regularly check if any message is put on hold as spam. We do not have any control over delays in posting due to technical reasons.