Privacy Issues in GTFS-ride

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Jan 29, 2019, 1:27:06 PM1/29/19
to GTFS-ride

Hello again transit community,

As we mentioned in the second consortium meeting in October, we are continuing our posts discussing the potential opportunities and challenges facing the GTFS-ride data standard. This post will focus on privacy and public availability concerns arising from the use of GTFS-ride. Please comment if you have information or opinions related to the following:

·       There are concerns that the unique rider_id in rider_trip.txt and stop-level travel patterns from low-density service in board_alight.txt could expose identities of specific riders. (See GitHub Issue)

­   Would this be an active concern?

­   Are there any known or potential solutions?

­   Would adding language to the standard clarifying that any such data using GTFS-ride not necessarily be required to be public be a solution?


·       It has also been expressed that agencies may not feel comfortable releasing some ridership data publicly due to quality concerns, conflicts with other data (e.g., NTD), and the potential for misinterpretation.

­   How much of an issue would this be for your organization?

­   Would more opportunities for context (e.g., metadata, summary statistics, quality measures, etc.) built into the standard alleviate these concerns?

­   What potential opportunities could be lost by keeping ridership data private?


Feel free to provide any feedback or comments that you think are relevant to this topic. If you have a specific concern or recommendation for the standard, we invite you to start an issue or pull request in the GitHub repository.

Also, consortium members, please offer your thoughts on these other past discussion posts:

Logistics and Technical Challenges

Analysis and Planning Opportunities

GTFS-ride Adoption Challenges

Data Quality in GTFS-ride

Commercial Interests in GTFS-ride

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