4. Routes (routes.txt)
This file is required to be included in GTFS feeds.
A route is a group of trips that are displayed to riders as a single service.
|Required||An ID that uniquely identifies the route.|
|Optional||The ID of the agency a route belongs to, as it appears in |
|Required||A nickname or code to represent this service. If this is left empty then the |
|Required||The route full name. If this is left empty then the |
|Optional||A description of the route, such as where and when the route operates.|
|Required||The type of transportation used on a route (such as bus, train or ferry). See below for more information.|
|Optional||A URL of a web page that describes this particular route.|
|Optional||If applicable, a route can have a color assigned to it. This is useful for systems that use colors to identify routes. This value is a six-character hexadecimal number (for example, |
|Optional||For routes that specify the |
The following extract is taken from the TriMet GTFS feed (https://openmobilitydata.org/p/trimet).
This sample shows three different bus routes for the greater Portland
route_type value of
3 indicates they are buses. See
the next section for more information about route types in GTFS.
There is no agency ID value in this feed, as TriMet is the only agency represented in the feed.
The other thing to note about this data is that TriMet use the same
value for both
route_short_name. This is very
useful, because it means if you have a user that wants to save
information about a particular route you can trust the
value. Unfortunately, this is not the case in all GTFS feeds. Sometimes,
route_id value may change with every version of a feed (or at
least, semi-frequently). Additionally, some feeds may also have multiple
routes with the same
route_short_name. This can present challenges
when trying to save user data.
To indicate a route's mode of transport, the
route_type column is
|Tram / Light Rail|
|Subway / Metro|
Agencies may interpret the meaning of these route types differently. For
instance, some agencies specify their subway service as rail (value of
2 instead of
1), while some specify their trains as light rail
0 instead of
These differences between agencies occur mainly because of the vague descriptions for each of these route types. If you use Google Transit to find directions, you may notice route types referenced that are different to those listed above. This is because Google Transit also supports additional route types. You can read more about these additional route types at https://support.google.com/transitpartners/answer/3520902?hl=en.
Very few GTFS feeds made available to third-party developers actually
make use of these values, but it is useful to know in case you come
across one that does. For instance, Sydney Buses include their school
buses with a route type of
712, while other buses in the feed have