Downloading archived GTFS feed versions from Transitland

Published 2022-06-16

July 19, 2022: We appreciate questions and feedback we've received from a wide range of Transitland users about this change. Based on feedback, we are adding a Hobbyist/Academic plan with no cost. Users developing non-commercial applications may use this plan to access historical feed versions through the v2 REST API.

Commercial users who need access to historical feed versions, as well as academic users who require support and/or access to the v2 GraphQL API, are directed to the Professional plan.

See a comparison of functionality on the Transitland plans and pricing page.

(And one more update to this blog post: the count of feed version in the Transitland archive is out of date. Now there are 105,763 :)

For roughly seven years, Transitland has been fetching and archiving static GTFS feeds from transit operators. We've also imported a selection of feed versions from other public archives, such as GTFS Data Exchange. Today Transitland contains 102,191 processed and archived feed versions.

To date, we have allowed the public to freely download archived feed versions through the Transitland website. The free tier for Transitland API access has also provided a generous allotment of queries, which can be used to download archived feed versions, in addition to querying into data contents imported from those feed versions.

Some users are taking advantage of this openness by scraping the entire contents of Transitland's feed version archive. These mass downloads put load on Transitland servers and bandwidth, increasing our operating expenses. It also blurs distinctions between the API free tier (intended to be generous enough for hobbyist projects and pilot projects by companies) and the professional tier (intended to support production projects).

We are adjusting access to Transitland's GTFS feed version archive to better balance these concerns.

Downloading feed versions through the website

This website now allows users to download the latest version of any feed (with the exception of those marked as having licenses that prevent redistribution). Click through to a feed page and you'll see a download icon in the top frow of the table of archived feed versions. For example, the Caltrain feed:

screenshot showing where to click to download the latest version of the Caltrain feed

Downloading feed versions through the v2 REST API

Developers can use the v2 REST API to download feed versions by two means:

  1. Use feed endpoint to download the latest feed version of a given feed. For example: GET /api/v2/rest/feeds/f-9q9-caltrain/download_latest_feed_version
  2. Use the feed versions endpoint to specify a feed version by its unique SHA1 hash and download it. For example: GET /api/v2/rest/feed_versions/8f99f69503edfa52e06ec5673e582d3a684c05ca/download

Starting in seven days (on Thursday, June 23, 2022), Transitland will only allow users on the Professional or Enterprise plan to download feeds using the second of those options. (As of July 19, 2022, non-commercial users on the Hobbyist/Academic plan are also being given this capability.) All registered developers, including those on the Free plan, will still be able to use the first of those options.

Continuing to tune and improve

We founded Transitland in 2014 to serve as "a community-edited data service aggregating transit networks across metropolitan and rural areas around the world." We've added, adjusted, and removed functionality over time. We've also supported Transitland's expenses and upkeep through a changing mixture of organizational sponsorship, charitable sponsorship, and customer revenue. We expect to continue to adjust Transitland's functionality and access policies over time to maintain and expand this platform as the best possible set of open transit and mobility APIs. Thanks to our users — both old and new, and on both free and paid plans — for making such good use of Transitland.