Converting public transport data into matrices

The recent years have seen a rise of websites that serve easily available public transport information for travellers; a great example isĀ 9292 in the Netherlands. There is a substantial collection of data behind such websites, with many useful analytical and commercial possibilities. Those data are gradually becoming publicly available; see initiatives such as Transport for London’s.

For a scientific test case I recently developed a prototype method to generate network data and travel time matrices for the Netherlands using GeoDMS and a large raw database dump from the 9292 website. The generated networks have been combined with street data from OpenStreetMap to get a complete picture of travel time, including the necessary fore and after transport.

Some exciting things are possible with this sort of data. One application is generating accessibility maps and exploring how much public-transport enabled accessibility changes through the day. The top map show potential accessibility values by public transport for the Netherlands when arriving at five or six in the morning. The maps below display traveltimes to Amsterdam when leaving at different hours of the morning. These mapsĀ  clearly show the variability of access throughout the day – from some areas in The Netherlands it’s not even possible to reach Amsterdam early in the morning! Quite a shock for a country that claims to strive for a 24/7 economy!

Travel time to Amsterdam by public transport when leaving at the indicated time.
Travel time to Amsterdam by public transport when leaving at the indicated time.

One of my goals for 2016 is to build a program to generate spatiotemporally informed public transport networks, traveltime matrices and assorted network information from generic GTFS formatted files. When ready the methods will be made available through this website.