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Cal-ITP and partners celebrate major milestones in implementation of Operational Data Standard (ODS) for transit


For immediate release

Sacramento, CA—The California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP) today announced significant progress in implementing the Operational Data Standard (ODS) for transit agencies. In a major milestone for the project, the first vendor-to-vendor integrations powered by ODS have been officially launched. Five companies—EQUANS, Remix (owned by Via), Schedule Masters, Swiftly, and GIRO—now are capable of reading or writing ODS feeds in their software offerings.

Rapidly becoming the standard for exchanging data about transit operations, ODS builds on the successful General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) standard—which is used by agencies and riders all over the world for transit service information—and expands it to help agencies get more from their software, including data about personnel, scheduled maintenance, and non-revenue service. This information about moving vehicles without passengers aboard (also known as deadheading), runs, and daily pull-ins and pull-outs from the yard is critical to running a successful, timely transit service, and it is not captured in rider-facing GTFS.

“Combining information from an agency’s GTFS and ODS data gives a full picture of transit vehicle trips and opens the door to improving schedule efficiency and on-time performance for overall service,” said Swiftly CEO Jonny Simkin.

Schedule Masters President and Founder David Reed said, “GTFS brought us a flexible standard of what happens in transit. What the ODS extension gives us is standardization between the systems that power the back ends of the agencies.”

The benefits of ODS are already being experienced firsthand by agencies. The San Francisco Bay Ferry—operated by the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA)—became the first transit service to get access to expanded operational data using ODS earlier this year.

“Not being able to track non-revenue trips represented a glaring omission in the operational data that our agency compiles and analyzes. Working with Cal-ITP and Swiftly to implement ODS, San Francisco Bay Ferry can now access operational data for its deadhead runs and integrate it with our larger ridership database,” WETA Principal Planner Michael Gougherty said. “This has improved procedures for reporting data to the National Transit Database and other entities. San Francisco Bay Ferry would like to thank Cal-ITP and Swiftly, as well as Blinktag, for partnering to implement this emerging technology in response to the real-world needs of transit operators.”

Internally, San Francisco Bay Ferry uses ODS data to analyze schedule adherence and actual trip times for deadhead runs, with an eye toward enhancing operating efficiency and optimizing schedule—allowing San Francisco Bay Ferry to improve its service reliability and potentially expand the service frequency offered to its riders.

The quick progression of ODS from planning to implementation has been achieved because of the concerted efforts of Cal-ITP’s industry partners. EQUANS, Remix, Schedule Masters, Swiftly, and GIRO were all members of the ODS working group convened by Cal-ITP for the purpose of creating greater interoperability between scheduling software and computer-aided dispatch/automated vehicle location (CAD/AVL) software. Because of their commitments to this project, transit operators can use ODS today to optimize their services and improve decision-making.

“EQUANS fully supports the development of open standards such as ODS,” said Kilian Ollivier, Business Development Manager for EQUANS. “As part of our standard offering with our CAD/AVL system, GTFS and ODS datasets together will be a gamechanger for Operations and Scheduling integration, to handle non-revenue operations such as deadheading, personnel runs, and bus facility locations with ease.”

“Via is proud to partner with Cal-ITP for the ODS working group to help transit agencies implement open data standards with convenience and ease—as we’ve done successfully in Greenlink in Greenville, South Carolina and Greater Lynchburg Transit Co. in Lynchburg, Virginia,” said Ben Lykins, Senior Remix Scheduling Product Manager. “Via’s Remix Scheduling product is the first to allow agencies to export ODS in one click—another step forward in our vision to help transit agencies to remain resilient in the modern era of public transportation. We’re excited to continue our work helping agencies streamline scheduling, operations, and data reporting with Remix, so they can focus on delivering top-tier customer service.”

“We at Swiftly were thrilled to become the first consumer of ODS data, enabling agencies to monitor and improve their non-revenue service, through our work with the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA),” Simkin said of the San Francisco Bay ferry operator. “Swiftly is excited to leverage the ODS data standard to help transit agencies understand the full picture of vehicle trips and unlock the value of their data.”

Guilhem Hammel, Product Manager—Integration at GIRO said, “We have ensured that HASTUS’ import/export configuration tools allow GIRO or transit agencies to easily configure data feeds according to ODS. Standards like ODS are extremely important for the industry, as they streamline costs for transit agencies when integrating systems. We were proud to collaborate with Cal-ITP in advancing ODS.”

Read more about ODS at ods.calitp.org.

About Cal-ITP

The California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP) was established by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to both improve and encourage the use of multimodal travel throughout California—by enabling contactless open-loop payments, standardizing information for easy multimodal trip planning, and automating customer discounts (Cal-ITP Benefits). Over the past two years, Cal-ITP successfully led contactless open-loop contactless payment implementations in California on Monterey-Salinas and Santa Barbara buses; Sacramento light rail; intercity passenger rail between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area; on-demand transit vans; and LAX’s FlyAway bus, which connects airport passengers to commuter rail.

Learn more at calitp.org and on @California_ITP on Twitter, or by subscribing to the Caltrans Mobility Newsletter. And visit Cal-ITP’s CAMobilityMarketplace.org for a catalog of code-compliant products and services for public mobility providers, including contactless payment acceptance hardware and software and competitively priced cellular data plans.

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For additional information, please email [email protected] Attn: Scott Frazier.