Real-time Transit Display

In 2015, Daniel Schleith, Brad Thomas and I received a $10,000 grant from People’s Liberty to develop a real-time bus arrival display application for tablet computers which could be placed in the windows of businesses around the city. I developed the application, using Leaflet and Javascript, ingesting data from a modified version of the GTFS-realtime API.

Daniel Schleith talking about the project for People’s Liberty

The base map layers are the standard OpenStreetMap style (for locating the stop) and MapBox’s dramatic black and white OSM style, for better highlighting colored bus lines.

The project required a fresh design, because unlike other realtime apps, the tablets were designed to be stationary and non-interactive. I decided it was important to display the route, as many people would not actually know where the buses were going. Each time a bus passed, the app would refocus on the route (from that point on) of the next arriving bus, gradually zooming in to the stop and its surroundings, highlighting the location and direction of travel from there.

Real-time Transit Arrival App (screenshot)

The app was in use for several years before the API changed unexpectedly. A live demonstration is thus made difficult, however the code is available online.