MyTTC was born out of a desire for free, open access to transit data. The amount and quality of the data currently available from the TTC is somewhat lacking, with fewer than twenty percent of the stops and stop-times available. We hope, with your help, to change that for the better.
Inspired by the first TransitCamp in 2007, several developers with a certain penchant for large amounts of unruly data have wrangled what little we could find into that which you see here. Hey, some people collect stamps.
We are not the TTC, nor are we affiliated, endorsed, or otherwise associated with them. This is a community effort to make using the TTC a better experience for everyone. We hope you’ll join us!
Everything starts somewhere
In January of 2007, Kieran was staring out his window through the cold, windy weather trying to catch a glimpse the nearest bus stop. The 97 stops right outside his apartment building, but with 30 minutes between buses it can be a long wait, made seemingly longer by the weather. A light bulb went off: there are schedules online!
Twenty minutes and a browser crash later, he had decided to write a new application that uses the existing TTC data and makes it easier to find. After all, it shouldn't take that long. Should it?
Fast forward a month. Following several blog posts by fellow Toronto BarCampers and tech enthusiasts, an unique event was held at the Gladstone Hotel: TransitCamp. The main theme of the event was helping to make the TTC site better, how cool was this? Kieran moved his unfinished application to his laptop and headed for the Gladstone.
This was where Kieran met Kevin. The two found they shared a similar vision for a better quality of publicly available transit information, and plans started to form for a more involved application. After all, it shouldn't take that much longer. Should it?
Wrangling the data
The more familiar and involved Kevin became with the TTC data, the more he realized that there were fundamental problems. It soon became apparent that what he had access to on the TTC site was incomplete and only mildly accurate, at best. As more and more data was collected and analyzed, the worse it got. Finally, a breaking point was reached: there was no way the current data could be made useful. Something radical had to be done.
As part of the TTC's mandate, they published service summaries in a totally inaccessible format in some deep dark corner of their website. Each document described what vehicles were departing from what station, and included useful nuggets of information like average speed, total travel time, and the headway (the time between vehicles). This would prove to be enough to rebuild our own, accurate data set of all the stop times for every route in the city.
A task equivalent to herding cats
This new source of schedule information was not without its own set of unique problems, but many moons (and large double-doubles) later a shiny new dataset was formed which now included all the routes and branches with more reliable stop times. The data suddenly began to make sense.
The new data was ready to power the features they had always dreamed of: a trip planner, accurate schedules, and ultimately a data feed for Google Transit. Work suddenly accelerated on MyTTC and things finally began to coalesce in a very real and meaningful way. This site is the first public window into the data.
We're not done yet, not by a long shot! In addition to adding the last few straggling routes and improving the trip planner algorithms, we also have plans to roll out some really cool new features. Here's a conceptual roadmap of where we're headed:
SMS / IM integration
Ever wanted to get at transit information while you're out and about? We sure have. That's why we've started work on SMS and Instant Messenger integration. Soon, you'll be able to use your mobile phone to access stop times and sign up for service alerts via SMS text messages. Want to plan a trip from the road? We've got that covered too.
Better mobile device support
Now that so many people have a fancy smartphone in their pocket, it seems only natural that an application like this should be at home on this kind of device. While the existing site works on these devices already, we're going to tailor a better, cleaner interface just for smart phones and PDAs.
Are we missing something you'd like to see? Tell us about it! There's a feedback box on every page where you can spill your guts. We read every message. Really.
Think you can do better?
Awesome! You should check out our developer API. Or, should you want, we'll give you either a GTFS or SQL dump of our data. Go. Play. Innovate. Mash up. Make transit better!