TTC GPS Bus arrival info

TTC to make GPS data on buses available in April

As the TTC streetcar arrival apps continue to come to market, I've heard many commuters asking when the buses will get similar treatment. The responses from the app developers are always the same — we'll add bus tracking information once the TTC makes such data available. Until the data is open for use, their hands are tied.

At last check, the Next Vehicle Arrival System was due to be implemented on buses in early 2011. Wanting a more specific estimate, we got in touch with TTC spokesperson Brad Ross, who offered some pretty exciting news. Although he understandably lacked specifics, he revealed that GPS info on the TTC's bus fleet is due in April. From that point, he anticipates "a fairly speedy transition" to its being made available through Toronto's Open Data project.

In fact, the NextBus XML feed already includes some information on the 7 Bathurst and 29 Dufferin routes. It's far from comprehensive, but that's led some developers like Darwin O'Connor, to include it in their apps/pages. His site, TransSee, predicts arrival times for streetcars and these two bus lines by informing the user how many metres away a given vehicle is. "I suspect those two routes will be the first routes to get [full] predictions. They have been the Guinea Pigs in the past (bike racks and low floor buses)."

This information can't come quickly enough. As good as the streetcar apps we've reviewed are, they'll obviously be far more useful when bus arrival times are included. And assuming all goes as planned, it won't be long until that's the case.

Photo by Tsar Kasim in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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