How to visualize and use the GTFS real-time data

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Fernando Peña

Mar 9, 2022, 11:02:52 PMMar 9
to GTFS-realtime
Hello my name is Fernando and I would like your help, please.

I am a beginner in "GTFS real-time", I have already read the theory and I have my static GTFS data. However, I want to use real-time, I have read that a web server like Apache is needed, and this is done through APIs.

I just want to visualize the data in real-time, but my question is how?

How do I make a web server, do I do it with API rest, grpc, or where do I start?

How do I visualize the data in real-time? For example, the static data I visualize it with QGIS

I hope someone can help me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Sean Barbeau

Mar 10, 2022, 12:13:49 PMMar 10
to GTFS-realtime
Do you want to create a GTFS Realtime feed, or consume an existing one?

There are some demo apps here that might help you out with both:

If you're consuming one, you'll need to fetch a GTFS Relatime file every X seconds from a transit agency and decode it from the protocol buffer format to an internal data structure in your code - this library helps with that:

I wrote this article as well that you might find useful:


Sean Barbeau
Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida

Fernando Peña

Mar 10, 2022, 8:46:33 PMMar 10
Thank you very much for answering my question Sean Barbeau.

I'm studying automotive engineering, but I read what is GTFS and I am very interested.

I don't know much about web servers.

That is why it is my doubt, I have already read the theory about what GTFS is, the static data I can visualize in QGIS, but the real-time part I cannot find how to visualize it.

I just want to view them, specifically to see it from a web page and later see it in an application for smartphones. I want to do as a schedule of public transport.

I would really like it if you could give me advice for a rookie and I can achieve my goal, for example, use Javascript then the type of web server, I don't know, something like that.

I hope you can help me, please

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Sean Barbeau

Mar 11, 2022, 12:27:24 PMMar 11
to GTFS-realtime
I would suggest checking out an existing open-source project like OpenTripPlanner or OneBusAway to see how GTFS Realtime is used and visualized there:

Also, here's a very basic project that consumes and shows a GTFS Realtime vehicle positions feed:

Building an application from scratch that uses GTFS Realtime isn't trivial if you don't have existing development skills, but you should be able to get one of the above up and running.


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