OC Transpo has resources available for developers to create applications for desktop, web or mobile devices.
OC Transpo Live Next Bus Arrival Data Feed API
The OC Transpo Live Next Bus Arrival Data Feed API enables developers to create applications for the desktop, web or mobile devices that include transit data. The API is available at no charge and can be implemented in both for-profit and non-profit applications. We only ask that developers adhere to the guidelines presented in the OC Transpo Live Next Bus Arrival Data Feed Terms of Service. Complete documentation can be found in the Documentation tab.
To get started you will need to register and obtain an API key.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What data is accessible via the API?
The Open Data Service contains two methods that enable you to: a) get a summary for a stop; and b) get trips for a stop. The stop summary method provides data on route direction and route heading (the same title on the front of the bus). The trips method provides data on the next 3 trips, by appropriate route, for a given stop. Trip data includes arrival time and GPS related information. A full detailed overview of the API is provided in the Documentation section.
What is the General Transit Feed Specification?
The General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) is an open format developed by Google and now used as an international standard to incorporate transit information into applications that include geographic data. Because this is an open and freely available format, anyone can use the data to create their own applications. This feed has been available to the public from OC Transpo since 2008.
Do you offer technical support?
There has been significant interest in transit data. While we cannot provide support in creating applications, we will provide you with some helpful resources. If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns regarding how the API works, please reach out to the community at http://groups.google.com/group/dataott. We will also be offering an annual Transit Camp to provide developers with an opportunity to interact with City of Ottawa open data personnel, should you have questions about the API format and GPS data policy.
Why do I need to provide my personal information to receive an API key?
This allows us to communicate with you about your account, and to inform you about any service or policy changes, as well as scheduled maintenance outages or issues.
Why is there a daily call limit for each API key?
A daily call limit prevents OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa’s servers from becoming overloaded by an excessive number of calls to the API. This ensures the safety and security of these servers for other developers, as well as the transit riders, operators, control centre personnel, etc., who all rely on them for transit information. A daily call limit also prevents mass harvesting of data from the Live Feed. OC Transpo is presently studying a way to make available historical GPS data that might be of interest to the Open Data community.
What if my app becomes popular and exceeds the 10,000 call per day limit?
If your app becomes popular and it appears as though it is going to exceed the daily call limit, please contact this email address firstname.lastname@example.org to request an increase in your call limit. All call limit increases will be reviewed according to the Terms of Service and are made at the discretion of the City of Ottawa. Should your app exceed the daily limit, you will be notified that you are in non-compliance with the Live Next Bus Arrival Data Feed Terms of Service. If you do not reduce the number of calls to the API, your API key may be revoked in accordance with the aforementioned Terms of Service.
Are there any restrictions on what I can do with the data?
OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa allow registered API key holders to use the Live Next Bus Arrival Data for both non-commercial and commercial purposes.
How real-time is "real-time"? Is the data updated continuously or is there some sort of delay?
Under normal operation, the GPS data is sent from the buses to the server every 30 seconds using cellular technology. Inherently, the cellular technology may present gaps in connectivity as vehicles move. It is OC Transpo’s experience, based on more than ten years of GPS usage, that about 5% of the time - due to a multitude of reasons such as equipment defects, latency and network coverage - we don’t have the exact position of the buses, and this will effect the data feed. Although reasonable efforts have been made in providing this service, we cannot guarantee its accuracy, completeness or accuracy.
In the Terms of Service, you prohibit mass harvesting. If I want to create a database of OC Transpo’s transit data, how can I access it?
Because of the strain on the technological infrastructure caused by such practices, we do not allow developers to use the API key for data harvesting. OC Transpo is presently studying a way to make available historical GPS data that might be of interest to the Open Data community.