I recently heard of GTFS as a specification for the times and geographic information regarding transit networks. It is initially used by Google to integrate them into Google Maps but is now made to be a standard.

I understood there are a number of applications that rely on this specification.

But I would like to know if there is another format which is more or comparably popular (regarding the widespread use) for public transit data? The intent would be to figure what format would be the most interesting to release data.

3 Answers 3


Transmodel is a not very widely used format for schedule data (alternative to GTFS).

For real time data (alternative to GTFS-realtime): SIRI is an XML protocol used most heavily in Europe.

You'll want to consider what formats developers are most aware of and any possible performance issues.

TRANSMODEL has been adopted as the European experimental standard ENV 12896 in 1997.
(La dernière version révisée du document TRANSMODEL (version 5.1) est une norme européenne disponible auprès de l’AFNOR. Elle a été élaborée en 2006, et sa traduction française a été publiée par l’AFNOR en janvier 2012 sous la référence NF EN 12896.)


GTFS is what everyone is using. Other vendors, and even open platforms that consume transit data, consume GTFS. Open Trip Planner is an example.

(As an aside: was there a particular need that had that you feel GTFS doesn't address? Perhaps we could give you a more focused answer if you clarified.)

  • I mostly wanted to check before starting using GTFS. And I thought it was the appropriate place.
    – Vince
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 19:36

I don't think there is such a thing. Near as I can tell, before Google came along and prodded them, a machine-readable transit data format for transit agencies didn't exist.

There is a Transit Developers Google Group, you might want to check there as well.

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