CTA to Introduce Developer Tools Web Page

September 9, 2009

Bus Tracker API Now Available; Scheduling and Alerts Data Coming Soon

The Chicago Transit Authority today announced that a developer tools web page will soon be added to its agency web site. The page will allow developers to more easily download data needed to create new or updated applications that will help improve travel planning.
CTA will launch a developer tools portal on the transitchicago.com web site that will provide pre-packaged application program interfaces, or APIs, initially for bus and rail schedules, customer alerts and Bus Tracker. Improved access to this data will enable developers to create new desktop applications, widgets, mobile applications or integrate it into existing programs related to travel. The Bus Tracker API is currently available at ctabustracker.com and will be available on the developer tools page when launched.
“By making information readily available to developers and other interested parties, the benefits of tools such as Bus Tracker and the data it generates can be extended and applied in ways beyond what is currently within CTA’s means,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. “Sharing our investment in technology will help to create innovative tools more quickly and in a broader range than what the agency will be able to provide on its own. The bottom line is to provide the best experience for customers by enabling those who can create new and varied applications with the means to do so.”
In recent months, the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce Special Service Area #33 (WPB) has been using Bus Tracker data in an effort to expand its use beyond PDAs, computers and other mobile devices. As a result, select neighborhood businesses will install monitors that will continuously display next bus arrival times along the bottom portion of the screen, while neighborhood alerts and news items rotate above. The program is expected to officially launch next week.
In addition, the CTA also will begin sharing its real-time bus service information with the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC). An ordinance authorizing the data sharing agreement between the two agencies was approved today by the Chicago Transit Board.
In an effort to gain a better understanding of traffic conditions throughout the city, OEMC is planning to develop, test and operate an Arterial Performance Monitoring System (APMS) using the Bus Tracker data to estimate real-time conditions of vehicular traffic on major streets and roadways throughout the city.
To access the Bus Tracker API currently available, users need to sign in on the Bus Tracker web site (www.ctabustracker.com). After registering to access the API and accepting the terms and conditions, users will be sent an access key code, which will allow them to begin submitting requests for data. Bus Tracker data is available in various configurations, including: date/time, bus stop and vehicle IDs and route patterns. Information provided through the Bus Tracker API is updated every minute. Data is sent as soon as a request is received.
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