The Definitive Guide to GTFS

Consuming open public transportation data with the General Transit Feed Specification

Originally written by Quentin Zervaas.

About This Book

This book is a comprehensive guide to GTFS -- the General Transit Feed Specification. It is comprised of two main sections.

The first section describes what GTFS is and provides details about the specification itself. In addition to this it also provides various discussion points and things to consider for each of the files in the specification.

The second section covers a number of topics that relate to actually using GTFS feeds, such as how to calculate fares, how to search for trips, how to optimize feed data and more.

This book is written for developers that are using transit data for web sites, mobile applications and more. It aims to be as language-agnostic as possible, but uses SQL to demonstrate concepts of extracting data from a GTFS feed.

About The Author

Quentin Zervaas is a software developer from Adelaide, Australia.

Quentin was the founder of TransitFeeds (now <>), a web site that provides a comprehensive listing of public transportation data available around the world. This site is referenced various times throughout this book.


First Edition. Published in February 2014.

Technical Reviewer

Rupert Hanson

Copy Editor

Miranda Little


The information in this book is distributed on an "as is" basis, without warranty. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this work, the author shall not be liable to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book.


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, and was published at