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Introduction

General Transit Feed Specification, more commonly known as GTFS, is the world standard format for uploading schedule and geographic data (route alignment and bus stops) to trip planners, such as Google Transit, Apple Maps, Bing and Transit App, etc. GTFS Builder is a free Microsoft Excel-based web application which assists rural and tribal transit agencies to develop and generate fully valid GTFS for their bus routes. National RTAP partnered with Transnnovation Inc. to develop GTFS Builder.

 

For additional introductory information

     1. Check out the Why GTFS? Technical Brief

     2. Watch this GTFS Overview Video (15 min.) 

     3. Read what others have to say about GTFS Builder: Testimonials

GTFS Builder icon

Get started using GTFS Builder by creating a new National RTAP Cloud account or by logging into your existing Cloud account. Once you are logged in, you will be able to download GTFS Builder.

Cloud Sign up   Cloud Login

Product Features

  • Two Excel spreadsheets that work together to compile your GTFS files.
  • Free “hosting” of your complete GTFS files from a stable URL that Google Transit, and other apps, can download from.
  • Free technical assistance (by phone and email) and program maintenance.

Before Beginning

Before downloading and using GTFS Builder, please consider the resources you will need, as well Google’s legal requirements. Please do not let any of the information provided below discourage you from downloading using GTFS Builder. National RTAP staff is available to explain and assist as needed (see Support section).

Google License Agreement

GTFS powers many applications. To display your agency’s schedules at Google Maps, can your agency agree to the terms of the Google License Agreement? The agreement is provided by Google as part of the Google Transit Program. There is no fee to sign the agreement or with uploading GTFS data. However, the agreement must be digitally signed by a person in your agency with the authority to sign legal agreements. A sample agreement can be reviewed here: Sample Agreement.pdf

A practicing attorney provides a detailed explanation of the agreement in a webinar offered by National RTAP on October 27, 2020. The webinar can be accessed here: Demystifying Trip Planner Licensing Agreements Webinar

Hardware/Software Requirements

  • A Personal Computer (PC) or Mac operating with Bootcamp or Parallels
  • Microsoft Excel, version 2010 or more recent (macros enabled)

Skill and Time Requirements

  • Beginner to intermediate level Microsoft Excel skills
  • Beginner familiarity with Google’s My Maps
  • Beginner familiarity with Google Earth
  • Initial Data Input - Average 4 hours per route
  • Maintenance: Approximately 4 hours per year, assuming minor route or stop changes

Support

The GTFS Support Center offers targeted, how-to videos, links to Google’s Transit Partners Program and other important resources. The how-to videos will walk you through gathering and inputting your transit routes and schedule data into the GTFS Builder Excel files.

Most importantly, our technical support staff is available to answer question by phone or email and review your GTFS files.

Support