The Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has turned to Reddit to announce the release of new Public Transport data. This afternoon, the premiere posted for the first time to the subreddit /r/melbourne, showing some love for the young people of Victoria. The release of public transport data now means companies and individuals that make navigation applications (like Google) can access the states transport data. Released under creative commons, the data will be updated weekly and has the geospatial coverage of all of Victoria, meaning it’s not just Melbourne that will benefit.
The image below (posted to Imgur) highlights the problem. Publicly available transport data in NSW means that Sydney residents get full multi-mode transport instructions when those in Melbourne receive the message ‘No routes found’.
There’s a massive 119MB of PTV Timetable and Geographic information released which adds to 62 other transport-related data sets available for developers to leverage at https://www.data.vic.gov.au/data/group/transport. While this particular set of information is incredibly valuable, we shouldn’t forget the total datasets available is now 3,710.
Inside the gtfs.zip file lives 11 sub folders which contain a series of .txt files. File like agency, calendar, dates, routes, shapes, stop times, stops, and trips, contain the comma separated data that will power the transport apps. Data snapshots like this are ok, but as a developer, web services would be preferable. So after the data is made available, the next question is when Google (and others) implement it into their apps. The expectation at this point is soon, but don’t expect it tomorrow.
It’s a very savvy move by the Premier to use Reddit, a controversial platform that has a huge user base in Australia. Andrews is by no means the first politician to use Reddit to reach out to fans, even President Obama has famously done AMA’s on Reddit.
Get the data set at Data.vic.gov.au